First things first: This is a book for when you are feeling intellectual. This is not a book when you are feeling lazy and unwilling to engage your brain, not that I find anything wrong with that. 99% of my reading time is devoted to lazy books. My recent "review' of a Molly Ringwald penned book is testament to that. Sometimes though I want to feel like a smarty-pants. I get overcome by an urge to relive my academic days and reassure myself that I'm smart! I decide that I want to be an Ilustrado, an enlightened one... enter Miguel Syjuco's awesome book.
I'll confess I almost gave up on the book a few times. It's a bit dark and sometimes devoid of hope. I'm not against any of that but since I can be a little bit dark myself I like to switch it up with the fluff. This book had a great payoff though, I mean Borges good and in the end it unexpectedly carries a hopeful message, changing up the scenery just when you are sure you'll find something else. Isn't real life like that though too? A ray of light just when you think the darkness will overtake you?
Existential musings aside the truly special aspect of this book though is the narrative. The story is framed in at least 5 different ways, through jokes, fake blog entries, the narrators childhood, the present day action and the fiction of "Crispin Salvador". I haven't seem Inception yet but it feels like how everyone describes that movie: layers and layers and layers. If you are up for a challenge go check it out and to read more about Ilustrado's up and coming author Miguel Syjuco click here.