The novels of Gina Apostol fall within the genre of postcolonial diasporic novels, which arise from a critical attitude of hope, and aspire to become sources of liberation, as discussed by Bill Ashcroft. They fall under Philippine-American literature as well, a literature that distinguishes itself from Asian-American literature because of its discussion of the Philippine colonial experience under the U.S., and thus lends itself to important reflections regarding hybridity, historiography, and solidarity. This article examines three novels of Apostol: Gun Dealers’ Daughter, The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, and Insurrecto. In each of these works, Apostol explores the construction of the Filipina identity in relation to the Philippines, the United States, Philippine history, and Philippine-American relations. These novels illustrate the richness of Philippine-American literature, and its possibilities of liberating Philippine and American narratives, identities, and possibilities. They show the vibrant importance of literature in questioning history and show us how reading against the grain is a skill needed in unearthing narratives about U.S. colonialism in the Philippines and the Philippine nation-state’s oppressions of its own people. In the discussion of hybridity, this article employs the theories of Homi Bhabha and Gloria Anzaldua; in the discussion of historiography, it uses the theories of historiographic metafiction, as developed by Linda Hutcheon, as well as theories regarding counter-memory and suprahistorical history by Michel Foucault.
KEYWORDS: diasporic novel, Philippine-American literature, historiographic metafiction, hybridity, counter-memory, post-colonialism