I was eight when my father brought me to one of the big houses at the top of Esperanza Street and left me with Mary Morelos. ‘I haven’t the time to fix broken wings,’ she said. ‘Does he have any trouble with discipline?’ My father glanced at me before answering.
So begins the story of Joseph, houseboy to the once-wealthy Mary Morelos, who lives in the three-storey Spanish colonial house at the top of Esperanza Street. Through Joseph’s eyes we witness the destruction of the community to which they are both, in their own way, bound. Set in a port town in the Philippines, Niyati Keni’s evocative and richly populated debut novel is about criminality under the guise of progress, freedom or the illusion of it, and about how the choices we make are ultimately the real measure of who we are.Read an Excerpt
- Read all about Niyati Keni’s ‘wonderfully evocative’ and ‘richly populated’ debut novel Esperanza Street.
- Read Niyati Keni’s interview for FemaleFirst here.
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Vanessa Gebbie, author of The Coward’s Tale
‘A rich, engaging, thought-provoking read from a gifted new voice. The inhabitants of Esperanza Street get under your skin and will not leave until they have told their story.’
Joanna Luloff, author of The Beach at Galle Road
‘Joseph is a keen observer and a reluctant hero on the brink of adulthood. His measured and incisive voice, an encapsulation of love, curiosity and hesitant wisdom, brings to life the community he loves and already senses he will one day be forced to mourn.’
Suzanne Joinson, author of A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar
‘A port town in the Philippines is an evocative setting for this gentle, mesmerising novel which artfully tells a story that is both intimate and important. The rhythm of the prose is like waves rolling: narratives overlap, a whole community is painted, and stories knit, weave and feed into one another to create a whole of perfect harmony.’
Jim Pascual Agustin, author of Alien to Any Skin
‘Set outside Manila in pre-EDSA Revolution Philippines, Esperanza Street is a brilliant glimpse of a small community in the crux of change and upheaval. What brings its people together is bound to tear them apart.’