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Ghosts of Manila Hardcover – 19 May 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; First Edition edition (19 May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224037609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224037600
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,271,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

James Hamilton-Paterson's writing encompasses poetry, short stories, non ficiton and ficiton. He won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1989 for Gerontius. He lives in Italy and the Philippines.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Lomas on 27 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Without doubt this is one of the best, if not the best Philippines-set works of fiction going. An interesting story, lots of authentic colour and detail, and genuine insights into Filipino culture and attitudes. Highly reccommended. If you like this check out 'America's Boy' and 'Playing With Water' by the same writer. The first a biography of F Marcos, the second a partial autobiography including an account of the author's sojourn on a deserted Philippine island. Both are packed with information about local lifestyle and culture. Ironically all three of these books are very hard to find in the Philippines, so if you are planning on travelling there get hold of copies before you go.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. Foale on 21 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Botswana has Alexander McCall Smith; the Philippines have James Hamilton-Paterson. So while Botswana gets cloying candy floss the fortunate Philippines get a 5 course banquet:

Canapes: Seven-tenths: The Sea and Its Thresholds

Starter: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives)

Main: America's Boy

Dessert: Ghosts of Manila

Cheese Board: Loving Monsters

For decades James Hamilton-Paterson has sojourned in, studied, and lionised the Philippines. He has drunk much cheap Filipino gin around flickering lanterns with poor fishermen, he has internalised their worries.

If you've been to Manila then do read Ghosts Of Manila. It shows you the daily struggles of proud but poor squatter camp inhabitants, counterposed with their rich dead neighbours over the wall in the Chinese Cemetery - and the corrupt, corrupting city beyond. It also takes you variously inside the minds of: wayward Westerners sweltering in the city heat, a cop the least of whose worries is the grid-locked traffic, a priest hacking a moral trail through Roman Catholicism and Philippine social strife.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Haunting and Eerie 26 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am from Manila, but I am young. I did not go through this period of Manila, which was literally on the brink of anarchy. This story is set during the latter years of Marcos, and those were rather scary years. Goverment policies weren't getting anything done. People were miserable, and the government was under heavy criticism. When my mom tells me about it now, it is so unbelievable.
Manila is such a different city now. In the book, it was terrifying. People were getting killed left and right, and it was the work of the government, so no one could do anything. Kids of prominent dissidents were kidnapped and tortured. Women were raped. It was not a good time to be living in Manila.
Much credit must be given to James Hamilton Paterson, who has managed to portray a city so haunting and scary, it scared even me, a true blue Filipino, residing in Manila. I might know the streets and places in this book, but I am sure glad I did not live through these horrible events. If Manila's walls could talk, they would probably tell this story.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Paterson didn't write this book 23 Oct. 2000
By Jerry - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a resident of Manila since birth, I applaud James Hamilton-Paterson's excellent work. I hesitate to call it fiction since the events he says are mostly ripped from the newspapers. For an outsider, Paterson's backstories and subplots may sound too fantastic. But it is all too real. He didn't need to push his imagination on the events described on this book. Just observe the city and a lot of magical-realist stories will come to you. His weaving together seemingly unrelated events is his true talent. Yes, the Manila described here is unflattering but it is the only city with a character all its own.
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