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Cover of Patron Saints of Nothing
A review of Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Gosh, I loved this book. I really, really loved it. I am so happy that it exists. A sincere thank you for the ARC, @KokilaBooks!

Patron Saints of Nothing is one of those books that will keep you up late, that will make you search for a pen and paper so that you can write down the many, many lines that are just BRILLIANT, that will make you think about love, humanity, religion, family, identity, HOPE. You’re reading about Jay and his experience traveling to the Philippines to investigate the sudden, suspicious death of his cousin, Jun. But really, you’re being immersed in beautiful writing, in a story that has not been told (today’s Philippines under Duterte), with a main character who brings you along as he explores and investigates and learns and imagines. At times it is truly breathtaking.

I’ll definitely be reading this again, hopefully as a selection for a book club as it’s perfect for sharing, conversation, and debate. The author does a fantastic job of presenting the difficult issues that his characters face as complex, multifaceted, nuanced decisions instead of simple “right” or “wrong” choices. He challenges his readers throughout the book to think larger than these either/or decisions and to view situations from a point of view that rejects that “us” or “them” thinking. It’s this sort of thing that makes the book so fantastic -- it covers BIG ideas while always being completely accessible. It’s just lovely. A true must-read.

July 29, 2019