Title: THE HAND OF THE ENEMY - Rare Fine Copy of ...
Publisher: Manila, Philippines: Regal Books/Erewhon Bookshop Distributors, 1962
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. 120 pages. Published in 1962. The author's breakthrough debut novel. One of the best Asian novels of the 20th century. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a one-time-only print run as a hardcover original only. There is no ISBN. The First Edition is now rare. Presents Kerima Polotan's "The Hand of The Enemy". Her finest achievement. From a culture that is derivative at best, productive rather than creative, how is Polotan's masterpiece possible? It is important to keep in mind that at the time of its publication, the Philippines was one of the most prosperous nations in Asia, a vibrant, if fragile, democracy that enjoyed unprecedented economic growth (however limited, to this very day, to a tiny elite), American financial largesse to its only colony and World War II ally, and a culture that supported Philippine writing in English. The external factors that help make a masterpiece possible cannot be overestimated precisely because the latter comes into being to challenge a modernizing nation's intrinsic soul. Once compared to Sartre (wrongly) and Heinrich Boll (rightly), Polotan is an original: Going against the normative "naive-sentimental" grain, Polotan is an original: She writes un-sentimentally and scathingly about love, the impossible demands it makes on human beings, and its fundamental incompatibility not just with personal ambition, but with the harsh realities of life. For Polotan's memorably depicted protagonist Emma - she has the same name as Madame Bovary - and probably, for the Romantic-feminist writer herself, love is the sole reason for being. It's what we're here for. Its enemy, whose hand prevails in the end, is life itself. By all means, one should seize whatever saving grace life has to offer, be it the glory of literature, the pleasures of art, the consolation of religious faith, and most tangible of all, worldly success. Life is essentially a trade-off, and one must never ever have any illusions about the trade-offs one makes. Polotan saves her most withering words, in passages of great descriptive power, for those who think they can have it all. The bleakness of Polotan's vision is only somewhat relieved by the generosity of her soul. She cares about her characters, mourning rather than condemning their failings. Whereas almost everyone else writes in the "Creole" style (the flowery Philippine language infused with Spanish Baroque), her lean and elegant prose makes Polotan the greatest stylist in English the Philippines has ever produced. Polotan's tough-minded yet generous writing exposes the mediocrity of contemporary writing for what it is: Sterile prose, undergraduate philosophizing, Marvel Comics fantasy-narratives. "A man follows something more urgent than himself" (Kerima Polotan). Kerima Polotan died on August 19, 2011. She will not be replaced. An absolute "must-have" title for Kerima Polotan collectors. This title is a great book. As far as we know, this is the only copy of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing available online and despite its imperfection (closed and open tears on DJ; slight fading on DJ spine) is still in fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A rare copy thus. The greatest Philippine writer in English of the 20th century. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER KERIMA POLOTAN TITLE IN OUR CATALOG). Bookseller Inventory # 16756
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