Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press
NEW!

The Human Zoo

by Sabina Murray

A blistering new novel that follows a Filipino American journalist’s return to dictatorship-ruled Manila to research her book on tribes from a “cracklingly original” (Elle) and “singular” (New York Times Book Review) author, PEN Faulkner award-winner, Sabina Murray

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date August 10, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5750-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date August 10, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5752-2
  • US List Price $26.00

Filipino-American Christina “Ting” Klein has just travelled from New York to Manila, both to escape her imminent divorce, and to begin research for a biography of Timicheg, an indigenous Filipino brought to America at the start of 20th century to be exhibited as part of a ‘human zoo.’ It has been a year since Ting’s last visit, and one year since Procopio “Copo” Gumboc swept the elections in an upset and took power as president. Arriving unannounced at her aging Aunt’s aristocratic home, Ting quickly falls into upper class Manila life—family gatherings at her cousin’s compound; spending time with her best friend Inchoy, a gay socialist professor of philosophy; and a flirtation with her ex-boyfriend Chet, a wealthy businessman with questionable ties to the regime. All the while, family duty dictates that Ting be responsible for Laird, a cousin’s fiancé, who has come from the States to rediscover his roots.

As days pass, Ting witnesses modern Filipino society languishing under Gumboc’s terrifying reign. To make her way, she must balance the aristocratic traditions of her extended family, seemingly at odds with both situation and circumstance, as well temper her stance towards a regime her loved ones are struggling to survive. Yet Ting cannot extricate herself from the increasingly repressive regime, and soon finds herself personally confronted by the horrifying realities of Gumboc’s power.

At once a propulsive look at contemporary Filipino politics and the history that impacted the country, The Human Zoo is a thrilling and provocative story from one of our most celebrated and important writers of literary fiction.

Tags Literary

Praise for Valiant Gentlemen

“A novel as vigorous, audacious and unpredictable as Casement himself . . . [Murray] translates the past into a present as immediate as it is unnerving.”—New York Times Book Review

“Written beautifully, from the point of view of a writer who cares deeply . . . That the novel can be so despairingly honest about a writer’s limitations while still be so entertaining says a lot about Murray’s considerable talent.”—Boston Globe

“A big, ambitious book . . . [with] intelligence and sly prose . . . Murray is canny in tracing the near-imperceptible stages by which Casement and Ward land on opposite sides of bitterly divisive issues . . . She has a knack for alluding to the era’s public events and concerns in a manner that lets us understand their impact and influence without her laboring over their details—an indispensable gift for a historical novelist . . . [A] wise, illuminating novel.”—Washington Post

“Expansive . . . Nimbly shifting continents, decades, and political alliances, Sabina Murray does a brilliant job imbuing grand chunks of black and white history with color-breathing fire. Yet there is a haunted feel to the novel . . . Valiant Gentlemen recreates an entire, magnificent era, exploring identity, friendship, marriage, love, and grief, tracing the days of two great men from passionate youth to disenchanted old age. Upstanding men who chased ideals that would never be realized, who never viewed themselves as valiant or worthy enough for the age in which they lived. Men who Murray has, through the power of her keen writing and sweeping insight, resurrected, letting the heroism of their lives outshine their small and human frailties.”—New York Journal of Books

“[Murray] ingeniously links two young friends . . . ultimately the novel is an imaginative exploration of the tragedy of lost friendship.”—Los Angeles Times

“Richly researched, Murray’s epic rendering of [this] story takes a deep dive into [a] volatile era.”—Toronto Star

“This book reveals an impressive breadth of research, which Murray naturally weaves into her vibrant scenes.”—Dallas New

“What Murray’s novel does very well is recreate the surprise and fascination of these men’s lives.”—Vice

“Murray’s meticulous attention to historical detail . . . is an engaging read filled with vivid characters and edifying perspectives. It will appeal to history buffs as well as readers of literary fiction.”—Winnipeg Free Press

“A fascinating, moving and epic account of the friendship between two men over 33 years . . . With a wide canvas of history before her, Murray explores the notions of national identity, foreign rule and resistance, love, personality, friendship and betrayal, social justice, suffrage, cruelties suffered by indigenous peoples, and of course war. It’s a difficult trick to allow your characters to age and wrestle with self-doubt and the disappointments of the world. Murray carries this off convincingly.”—Missourian

“Brimming with exquisite detail and clever humor . . . [Murray] maintains an impressive balance of historical accuracy and dramatic momentum, crafting a stellar fiction that shows how the grand course of history can be shaped by the smallest disagreements between friends.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An affecting novel about the unraveling of friendship under the buffetings of history. It’s wise enough and good enough to put on the shelf next to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall novels.”—Library Journal