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The Solemn Lantern Maker

A Novel

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Paperback published by Delta (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
From the award-winning author of Banana Heart Summer—“[a] wonderful debut…[that] resembles Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street and is destined to be a hit among book club members”*—comes a wondrous tale of hope, secrets, and family devotion.

It’s six days until Christmas, and on the bustling streets of Manila a mute ten-year-old boy sells his version of the stars: exquisite lanterns handmade with colorful paper. But everything changes for young Noland when he witnesses an American tourist injured in a drive-by shooting of a journalist and imagines he’s seen an angel falling from the sky. When Noland whisks her to the safety of the hut he shares with his mother, the magical and the real collide: shimmering lanterns and poverty, Christmas carols and loss, dreams of friendship and the global war on terror. While the story of the missing tourist grips the media, Noland and his mother care for their wounded guest, and a dark memory returns. But light sneaks in—and their lives are transformed by the power of love.



*Library Journal ( starred review, “Editor’s Pick”)
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From the award-winning author of Banana Heart Summer—“[a] wonderful debut…[that] resembles Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street and is destined to be a hit among book club members”*—comes a wondrous tale of hope, secrets, and family devotion.

It’s six days until Christmas, and on the bustling streets of Manila a mute ten-year-old boy sells his version of the stars: exquisite lanterns handmade with colorful paper. But everything changes for young Noland when he witnesses an American tourist injured in a drive-by shooting of a journalist and imagines he’s seen an angel falling from the sky. When Noland whisks her to the safety of the hut he shares with his mother, the magical and the real collide: shimmering lanterns and poverty, Christmas carols and loss, dreams of friendship and the global war on terror. While the story of the missing tourist grips the media, Noland and his mother care for their wounded guest, and a dark memory returns. But light sneaks in—and their lives are transformed by the power of love.



*Library Journal ( starred review, “Editor’s Pick”)
Product Details
Paperback (272 pages)
Published: October 27, 2009
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Delta
ISBN: 9780385341134
Other books byMerlinda Bobis
  • White Turtle

    White Turtle
    Alternately mythic, wistful, and quirky, this short story anthology resonates with an original and confident storytelling voice. An anomalous kiss, a white turtle ferrying the dreams of the dead, a working siesta in a five-star hotel, a woman’s 12-meter hair trawling corpses from a river, and a queue of longings in Sydney: these are some of the subjects of the 23 enigmatic tales brimming with chance and hope.

    Banana Heart Summer

    Banana Heart Summer
    In her lush, luminous debut novel, Merlinda Bobis creates a dazzling feast for all the senses. Richly imagined, gloriously written, Banana Heart Summer is an incandescent tale of food, family, and longing—at once a love letter to mothers and daughters and a lively celebration of friendship and community. Twelve-year-old Nenita is hungry for everything: food, love, life. Growing up with five sisters and brothers, she searches for happiness in the magical smell of the deep-frying bananas of Nana Dora, who first tells Nenita the myth of the banana heart; in the tantalizing scent of Manolito, the heartthrob of Nenita and her friends; in the pungent aromas of the dishes she prepares for the most beautiful woman on Remedios Street. To Nenita, food is synonymous with love—the love she yearns to receive from her disappointed mother. But in this summer of broken hearts, new friendships, secrets, and discoveries, change will be as sudden and explosive as the monsoon that marks the end of the sweltering heat—and transforms Nenita’s young life in ways she could never imagine. From the Trade Paperback edition.

    Fish-Hair Woman

    Fish-Hair Woman
    In 1987, the Philippine government fights a total war against communist insurgency and the village of Iraya is militarized. The days are violent and the nights heavy with fireflies in the river where the dead are dumped. With her 12-meter hair, the “fish-hair woman” Estrella trawls the corpses from the water, which now tastes of lemongrass. She falls in love with the visiting Australian writer Tony McIntyre before he disappears in the conflict. Ten years later, his son Luke is reading this story in a mysterious manuscript sent to Australia with love letters. Tony left Australia when Luke was six, and now at 19 Luke is traveling to the Philippines because his father is supposedly dying. On arrival he is caught in a web of betrayal that spins into the dark, magical tale of the manuscript as fact bleeds into fiction. Luke meets Stella, who could be Tony’s lover—or the fish-hair woman—but Tony cannot be found. Poetic and eclectic in style, this epic tale threads a multitude of voices and stories worldwide and ignites a mystery of who is really telling the story.

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