Book Review: In the Country by Mia Alvar

I bought this book ūüôā

alvar-turquoiseIn the Country by Mia Alvar

Stand Alone

Genre: Short Stories, Contemporary, Adult

Pages: 368

Edition: Paperback

Published: 06.16.2015

Catch it Here: Goodreads,B&N, Amazon


“These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begin new lives in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere‚ÄĒand, sometimes, turning back again.

A pharmacist living in New York smuggles drugs to his ailing father in Manila, only to discover alarming truths about his family and his past. In Bahrain, a Filipina teacher drawn to a special pupil finds, to her surprise, that she is questioning her own marriage. A college student leans on her brother, a laborer in Saudi Arabia, to support her writing ambitions, without realizing that his is the life truly made for fiction. And in the title story, a journalist and a nurse face an unspeakable trauma amidst the political turmoil of the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s.

In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar‚Äôs powerful debut collection explores the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. Deeply compassionate and richly felt, In the Country marks the emergence of a formidable new writer.”

**Note: I read this as part of the #AsianLitBingo event, read until the end for details!

If you aren’t aware already, I’m Filipino American, so I definitely wanted to read something about the Philippines for Asian American Heritage Month! I originally bought¬†In the Country¬†for my mom to read on the plane back in December; she really liked it and told me to read it too.

I liked this book because it’s made up of nine stories, and it covers an array of narratives. Here, you’ll find everything from from OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) to balikbayans, and there’s even a white American model who travels to Manila for work.

I found each story to be really harrowing, and I feel like the author really captured what it means to be Filipinx. While reading, I often thought of my own experience and of my family abroad, and in the Philippines. So I think this goes to show that Mz. Alvar is a really phenomenal writer, because she is able to deeply effect her readers, and make them think beyond the book (either that or I’m just really emotional).

Also, I really liked her writing, it wasn’t flowery, but it was straight to the point and described everything it needed to describe without long descriptions of every detail. Her characters had personality, and were very realistic.

I think this is the kind of book everyone would enjoy, if they like reading about real-life-stories and are interested in the Philippines or Filipinx culture. Highly recommended!

Overall Rating: 5/5 hearts!


Cover: 5 hearts
Plot: 5 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Pacing: 5 hearts
Writing: 5 hearts


I read In the Country for the #AsianLitBingo event that is hosted by Shenwei, over on their blog in celebration of Asian American Heritage Month! You can check out my Sign-Up post for details. This book fulfills the Southeast Asian MC slot!


Other posts for #AsianLitBingo:


5 Replies to “Book Review: In the Country by Mia Alvar”

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