The Disinherited by Han Ong + Author Interview [in Bloomsbury Review]
Han Ong, who made international headlines as one of the MacArthur Foundation’s elite Genius Grant recipients of 1997, refers to his second novel, The Disinherited, as his “imagined homecoming” to the Philippines. Ong left his native country 20 years ago at age 16, and he has yet to return. He thought he might go back a few years ago, poetically marking 16 years in his native country and 16 years in his new country. But there was that little matter of the passport – he has yet to claim his U.S. citizenship. “Basically, my understanding of the [citizenship] process is that it’s cumbersome. And fundamentally, I’m just really lazy,” he laughs. “I’m pretty sure that I would be considered American and an outsider if I went back,” he adds.
Like Ong, the protagonist of The Disinherited is an outsider all around. Roger Caracera is the American black sheep of his prominent Filipino/Spanish family, the youngest child who lacks the ambition and accumulated status of his two older siblings. Shocked to be left half a million dollars by his estranged father, Caracera, a 44-year-old deadbeat as his extended family considers him, decides to stay in the Philippines after his father’s funeral in order to give away what he believes is ill-gotten wealth. In his quest to purge his inheritance, he learns that so-called charity is sometimes only in the eyes of the beholder. …[click here for more]
Author interview: The Bloomsbury Review, January/February 2005