on the screen

On the Screen

View All



View All


Helping those in need

Visit Site

MP3 Audio Sample

goodreads logo

Short Synopsis
Garnering international prizes and acclaim even before its publication, Ilustrado is a daring and inventive debut novel that explores the hidden truths that haunt every family.

Full Synopsis
Ilustrado opens with Crispin Salvador, lion of Philippine letters, dead in the Hudson River. His young acolyte, Miguel, sets out to investigate the author's suspicious death and the strange disappearance of an unfinished manuscript—a work that had been planned not just to return the once-great author to fame but to expose the corruption behind the rich families who have ruled the Philippines for generations.

To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, charting Salvador's trajectory via his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The literary fragments become patterns become stories become epic: a family saga of four generations tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor, and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress.

In the shifting terrain of this remarkably ambitious and daring first novel, Miguel Syjuco explores fatherhood, regret, revolution, and the mysteries of lives lived and abandoned.

"Dizzying and ambitious.... A satisfying, meaningful story." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Spiced with surprises and leavened with uproariously funny moments, it is punctuated with serious philosophical musings." ---The New York Times

"Through his vivid use of language, Syjuco has crafted a beautiful work of historical fiction that's part mystery and part sociopolitical commentary." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Wildly entertaining.... [An] extremely enjoyable novel." ---The Washington Post

[Ilustrado] dazzles as brightly as Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated.... First novels rarely show such reach and depth." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"William Dufris performs a feat of wonder.…When speaking lines from Salvador's books, journals, and letters, Dufris knows just when to lay on an overdramatic tone that is reminiscent of old-time radio announcers. For Syjuco's bitter and cynical views, he adopts a jaded tone." ---AudioFile
Booklist Bestseller

NPR Best Fiction for Piercing This Crazy World Together

Quill & Quire Best Fiction

Publishers Weekly Review

New York Times Bestseller

Library Journal Review

Kirkus Review

Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize


A Novel

Author Miguel Syjuco

Narrated by William Dufris

Publication date Apr 30, 2010

Running time 13 hrs

Available Formats

Let us know!