Magazine article Out

Family Valued

Magazine article Out

Family Valued

Article excerpt

In Noel Alumit's second novel, Dad's been shot, Mom talks to the Virgin Mary, and the gay son tries to make sense of his immigrant family.

Noel Alumit acted with Jason Priestley on Beverly Hills, 90210, won the 2003 Stonewall Book Award for Literature for his debut Litters to Montgomery Clifi, and emceed a mock beauty pageant in a one-man show-all while working his day job as a trainer at the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team. Now the 34-year-old gay Filipino-American has just published his second novel, Talking to the Moon. Like its author, the book is complex, ambitious, and unpredictable, straddling multiple cultures and spiritualities.

Moon imagines, with lyrical prose and gorgeous glints of magical realism, a Los Angeles-based Filipino family in crisis. After mailman Jory Lalaban is shot by a white supremacist, he lies in a semicoma, recalling his childhood in the Philippines as an orphan and his journey from Jesuit novice to a moon-worshipping healer. His wife, Belen, talks to the Virgin Mary, agonizing over the family "curse" she caused decades ago. Their shy gay son, Emerson, rejected by Mom yet accepted by Dad, pines for his estranged Taiwanese boyfriend, Michael, who sheds light on the prickly cultural clashes that arise in a gay Asian-Asian-American relationship. …

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