Read The Samsons: Two Novels; (Modern Library) Online
Authors: F. Sionil Jose
“The foremost Filipino novelist in English, his novels deserve a much wider readership than the Philippines can offer. His major work, the Rosales Saga, can be read as an allegory for the Filipino in search of an identity.”
The New York Review of Books
“One of the [Philippines’] most distinguished men of letters.”
“America has no counterpart … no one who is simultaneously a prolific novelist, a social and political organizer, an editor and journalist, and a small-scale entrepreneur.… As a writer, José is famous for two bodies of work. One is the Rosales sequence, a set of five novels published over a twenty-year span which has become a kind of national saga.”
“Impressive is José’s ability to tell important stories in a lucid, but never merely simple prose.… It’s refreshing to see a politically engaged writer who dares to reach for a broader audience.”
San Francisco Weekly
“Tolstoy himself, not to mention Italo Svevo, would envy the author of this story.… This short … scorching work whets our appetite for Sionil José’s masterpiece, the five-novel Rosales Saga.”
“[José is] an outstanding writer. If ever a Nobel Prize in literature will be awarded to a Southeast Asian writer, it will be to F. Sionil José.”
The Mainichi Shimbun
“Considered by many to be Asia’s most likely candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature.”
The Singapore Straits Times
“F. Sionil José could become the first Filipino to win the Nobel Prize for literature … he’s a fine writer and it would be welcome recognition of cultural achievement in his troubled country. [He] is widely known and acclaimed in Asia.”
The Honolulu Advertiser
“José is one of Asia’s most eminent writers and novelists. His passionate, sometimes transcendent writings illuminate contemporary Filipino life in graceful and historically anchored narratives of power brokers and the brokered, of landowners and the indentured.”
“The literary work of José is inseparable from the modern politics and history of the Philippines.”
“In Filipino literature in recent years, the creative work of Francisco Sionil José occupies a special place.… José is a great artist.”
, Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow
“The reader of this slim volume of well-crafted stories will learn more about the Philippines, its people, and its concerns than from any journalistic account or from a holiday trip there. José’s book takes us to the heart of the Filipino mind and soul, to the strengths and weaknesses of its men, women, and culture.”
Los Angeles Times
“If we had to choose only one literary text to represent the twentieth century, it might arguably—vociferously arguably—be the only prose epic of our time … keeping alive the ancient epic tradition of heroes unable to achieve heroism without the active help of the community.”
, playwright and critic
“The great Philippine novel takes place within two critical decades …
, with its transitional fusing of dark with light, is possessed of a grand brooding material and metaphoric immanence that seems to guide all of Sionil José’s work.”
The Bloomsbury Review
“He has spoken the awful truths and grappled with the fearful realities that centrally confront us, not in just one novel but at length in four or five books which, taken together, are the most impressive legacy of any writer to Philippine culture.”
, University of the Philippines
“José writes English prose with a passion that, at its best moments, transcends the immediate scene. He is a masterful story writer.”
International Herald Tribune
“His stories truly carry the reader into the petty, debilitating, nepotistic, and often nightmarish world of politics and power.”
, Asiaweek (Hong Kong)
“José writes with an urgency that recalls D. H. Lawrence and preoccupations resembling those of Hemingway. [His] prose has, at its best, a sustained intensity that is highly impressive.”
Mainichi Daily News
2000 Modern Library Paperback Original
Copyright © 2000 by F. Sionil José
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by
Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada
by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Modern Library and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
The novels in this work were originally published separately as
(copyright © 1962 by F. Sionil José) and
(copyright © 1982, 1983 by F. Sionil José) by Solidaridad Publishing House, Manila, Philippines.
is a work of fiction. The characters and events are
products of the author’s imagination. Where actual historical persons or
incidents are mentioned, their context is entirely fictional.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
José, F. Sionil (Francisco Sionil).
The Samsons: The pretenders; and, Mass / F. Sionil José.
“Originally published in English as The pretenders, and Mass”—T.p. verso.
1. Philippines—History—1898—Fiction. I. José, F. Sionil (Francisco Sionil), 1924– Pretenders. II. José, F. Sionil (Francisco Sionil), 1924– Mass. III. Title.
PR9550.9.J67 S26 2000
Modern Library website address:
… They were bright young men who knew what money meant. But though they were rich and were educated in the best schools of Europe, their horizons were limited and they knew they could never belong to the alien aristocracy which determined the future.… They cried for reforms, for wider opportunities, for equality. Did they plead for freedom, too? And dignity for all Indios—and not only for themselves who owed their fortunes and their status to the whims of the aristocracy? Could it be that they wanted not freedom or dignity but the key to the restricted enclaves of the rulers?
n the night her husband left her, Mrs. Antonio Samson could not sleep. It was not the first time she had committed an indiscretion. In the past few weeks she had lied to him and acted as if she had always been the faithful wife, and she had easily gone to sleep feeling sure that, even if her husband found out, he would not be able to do anything about it except, perhaps, make a nasty little scene. She was sure of him and of his reactions, just as she had long grown accustomed to the taste of his mouth, his smell, and the contours of his body. It was a comforting knowledge, and it gave her a sense of power and security which grew out of an intimacy that transcended the clasping of bodies and the living together. She had always been very intuitive, and when she occasionally looked back, she knew that everything fell neatly into place—her meeting Antonio Samson in Washington, his diffidence, and her final acceptance of him springing not out of human necessity but out of curiosity and the need to be possessed by someone who did not care if she was Carmen Villa.