American Son by Brian Ascalon Roley
A Novel

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A powerful novel about ethnically fluid California, and the corrosive relationship between two Filipino brothers.

Told with a hard-edged purity that brings to mind Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson, American Son is the story of two Filipino brothers adrift in contemporary California. The older brother, Tomas, fashions himself into a Mexican gangster and breeds pricey attack dogs, which he trains in German and sells to Hollywood celebrities. The narrator is younger brother Gabe, who tries to avoid the tar pit of Tomas's waywardness, yet moves ever closer to embracing it. Their mother, who moved to America to escape the caste system of Manila and is now divorced from their American father, struggles to keep her sons in line while working two dead-end jobs. When Gabe runs away, he brings shame and unforeseen consequences to the family. Full of the ache of being caught in a violent and alienating world, American Son is a debut novel that captures the underbelly of the modern immigrant experience.

About Brian Ascalon Roley

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Brian Ascalon Roley grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in San Francisco.
Published November 22, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. 219 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Son

Kirkus Reviews

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Gabe and Tomas are teenagers being raised by their Filipino mother.

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The New York Times

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the area's placidity seems to be contingent on the absence of nonwhite ''undesirables.'' As Gabe drives around with a tow truck driver who is friendly only because he believes that Gabe is white, ''menace fills the cabin like steam in a shower...

Aug 12 2001 | Read Full Review of American Son: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Formerly deemed a mama's boy, Gabe runs away, stealing his brother's prized Oldsmobile and best dog, trying to escape his brother's growing influence.

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Red Room

Tomas then turns to crime and guard dog training/selling as his means monetarily to provide luxuries for his mother and act out his anger at the many indignities she suffers as a low-wage earning, first-generation, immigrant single mother.

Apr 29 2009 | Read Full Review of American Son: A Novel

Red Room

In a searing look at the immigrant experience, two half-Filipino brothers navigate a California of small-time thieves, Mexican gangsters and attack dogs trained using Nazi techniques...Roley explores this omnipresent yet usually invisible story of contemporary American immigrant life with an easy...

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Asian American Literature Fans Recent Entries Archive Friends User Info Asian American Literature Fans A Veritable Literary Feast ...

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