Next Meetup

Belmont Book Club - Insurrecto by Gina Apostle
Histories and personalities collide in this literary tour-de-force about the Philippines’ present and America’s past by the PEN Open Book Award–winning author of Gun Dealers’ Daughter. Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created “a howling wilderness” of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator—one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher. Within the spiraling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women—artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters—finding their way to their own truths and histories. Using interlocking voices and a kaleidoscopic structure, the novel is startlingly innovative, meditative, and playful. Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she shows us the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history. “Gina Apostol—a smart writer, a sharp critic, a keen intellectual—takes on the vexed relationship between the Philippines and the United States, pivoting on that relationship’s bloody origins. Insurrecto is meta-fictional, meta-cinematic, even meta-meta, plunging us into the vortex of memory, history, and war where we can feel what it means to be forgotten, and what it takes to be remembered.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer “Dazzling… A tender character study erupting with blazing insights on the ethics of storytelling.” —Entertainment Weekly “Gina Apostol uses an array of literary and cinematic techniques: memoirs, jump cuts, close-ups, and reveries to set a story in Duterte’s Philippines that shows us that though victors often write histories, survivors and artists can revise" NPR “Gina Apostol’s novel combines pop culture references, fake movie scripts, road trip tropes, and character studies all in the effort of reexamining the United States’ influence on the Philippines—and it works, man.” —Refinery29, Best Books of November “A book by Gina Apostol is always an event, and this latest one is no exception. Lush and vigorous, Insurrecto mines the Philippines’ troubled past with a scholar’s careful attention to detail and examines the enduring riddles of voice and identity, revolution and nation. The ghosts of history stalk the pages of this dizzying, stunning novel, their footsteps echoing in our fraught and uncertain times.” —F.H. Batacan, author of Smaller and Smaller Circles “Apostol fearlessly probes the long shadow of forgotten American imperialism in the Philippines in her ingenious novel of competing filmmakers . . . Layers of narrative, pop culture references, and blurring of history and fiction make for a profound and unforgettable journey into the past and present of the Philippines.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review “Shrewd . . . inventive . . . stinging . . . [Apostol] puts the “unremembered” Philippine-American War on display, deftly exposing a complicated colonial legacy through the unlikely relationship between a U.S.-educated Filipino translator and a visiting American filmmaker . . . Exceptionally rewarding.” —Booklist, Starred Meetup will be held at the Starbucks in Fresh Pond Circle. Go through the back door to the adjoining hotel conference area. We will see you there!


222 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge, MA · 222 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridg, MA


What we're about

This is a fun group with wonderful and insightful individuals in and around Belmont, MA. The age range is 35-65, but anyone outside of the range can join. This is just an average target so you know the dyamics.

We read current books, classics, fiction and non-fiction.

Potential book names are welcome from any member and are determined by the individuals who attend the most recent meeting and polls placed on the site.

The meetings occur monthly on Thursday evennings. Locations will be decided on an ad-hoc basis, ultimately decided by the organizer, but can be volunteered by anyone in the group.

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