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Nelson's Run [Paperback]

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Item Number 264459  
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Item description for Nelson's Run by Peter Bacho...

Nelson is obsessed with avoiding work, long-term relationships and all other forms of responsibility. Sex, Nelson's other major obsession, is what brings him to the Philippines, having heard the archipelago's bawdy lore from a former mistress he had shared with his father. With dark humor and insight, Bacho explores the clash of American and Filipino culture, as Nelson soon finds himself pulled between Anita and Marta, two tango-dancing matriarchs, and embroiled in his own private heart of darkness. The resolution of this increasingly violent menage-a-trois takes place within the context of a talent contest, a civil war, a coronation and an exploding presidential candidate.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   145
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.56" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.44"
Weight:   0.46 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2002
Publisher   Willowgate Press
ISBN  1930008023  
ISBN13  9781930008021  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter Bacho

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peter Bacho has written several books during his career. His nonfiction book Boxing in Black and White (Holt) made the Children's Center for Books Best Books List in 1999. He has also won an American Book Award (for Cebu, 2006), a Washington Governor's Writers Award (for A Dark Blue Suit, 1998), and The Murray Morgan Prize (also for A Dark Blue Suit). Cebu was listed as one of the top 100 books written by a University of Washington (affiliated) writer over the past century. Bacho has been praised as a "major voice in contemporary literature" (Tom Howard) with a "strong, steady style" (Kathleen Alcala) and a "disarming...sense of humanity" (Thomas Keneally). Bacho teaches at The Evergreen State College (Tacoma Branch) in Olympia, Washington.

Peter Bacho currently resides in Seattle Tacoma, in the state of Washington.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Satire, Classic
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Satire, General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > War

Reviews - What do customers think about Nelson's Run?

Crazy, Sexy... Disturbing  Mar 11, 2004
Before you even crack the binding of Peter Bacho's new novel, Nelson's Run, you are pulled into a world of sexual voyeurism. In the corners of both the front and back cover, are disparate, though extremely sexualized, body parts of writhing Filipina women. In one corner, lips are being licked. In another corner, a hand is groping... something. And in the midst of this visual orgy, stands Nelson, the protagonist of the novel. For the most part, he's a faceless, though larger than life, white guy. But it's not the whiteness that becomes the focus of this sexual montage. Strategically placed circles focus your gaze onto Nelson's crotch. It's no secret that one of the main themes of this novel revolves around sex, and you haven't read a word yet.

Nelson's Run opens in the year 2020 in a prologue spotlighting a lecture given by the distinguished professor Dr. Jose Bulaklak regarding the legendary White Dona of Samar. The second prologue introduces Nelson, product of a loveless marriage, then divorce. Young Nelson spends his summers in San Francisco with his licentious father whose mistresses Nelson is mandated to call "Mom". The prologue temporally places the reader in the late 1970s. One summer, Dad brings home a Filipina in need of sanctuary. She seduces Nelson and he loses his virginity, and so begins his obsession with sex.

Nelson's obsession with sex eventually turns him into a sexual tourist scouring the streets of Manila for the next "little brown sex machine." Once in Manila, he easily slides into acceptance among the wealthy and white-loving locals. He accidentally lands a job as a journalist and eventually winds up on the island of Samar. Nelson falls into events of intrigue, political scheming, vengeful murders, as well as encounters between 'communists' and the military. And, at the novel's core, Nelson finds himself the center of an increasingly violent ménage a trois with the jealousy between two women from opposing camps trying to keep Nelson from running. All these events weave a web of suspense offering up comic and tragic twists. Between the chapters, Bacho has inserted "Hidden History Lesson 1, 2, and 3" referencing key events in US intervention in the Philippines: "War, It's What White Guys Do" and the Balangiga massacre of 1901. The third history lesson talks of the strength and power of pre-colonial Filipino woman. It is these history lessons that provide the hidden context for Nelson's Run.

On the one hand, it shows Philippine politics and culture at its worst. Corruption is a logical conclusion considering that the country's politicians and citizens have learned their lessons well at the hands of strict American teachers. The two women who go head to head over Nelson's body indict both archetypes of the 'bad' and 'good' Filipina who, when it comes to white love, wind up killing for it. And even in the aftermath of murderous violence, the military still have to stage a drama for a politician's campaign with a `woman' at the center of it all.

And on the other hand, Nelson is the archetypal figure of a white guy whose inner war is translated into a war on the 'other' except here sex becomes the terrain of that war. What is Nelson looking for when he runs to Manila? Is he looking for salvation from his own demons? What created these demons? Does he want absolution? Nelson's shallowness inspires both hatred and sympathy, making the reader tread a fine line between condemnation and a hero-complex. We either want to kill this "stupid Americano" or save him. After all, everything he learned about sex and power, he learned from his father.

Nelson's Run because of its strong thematic ties to sex, politics, and power, reminded some critics of porn. When Rachel Kessler of The Portland Mercury asked Bacho if porn was an inspiration for this novel, he said, "Yeah. In porn, the sex isn't really about sex, and for Nelson [the main character of the book], the sex is something else, too. He thinks he has power, power over the Philippines to colonize it, quite literally, with his sexual prowess. On the other hand, he doesn't realize that he is being dominated. So in that sense the sex isn't sexy: It's about control, a demonstration of control. And being as outrageous as possible."

So, while in the voyeuristic world of Nelson's Run, the reader is inundated with crazy, sexy and disturbingly scary images. The novel is certainly written in a satirical mode, but more than humorous, the novel is unsettling. Between the tight, muscular prose of Bacho's writing, history focuses a spotlight on the residual effects of war - in the individual psyche and in the collective culture of an entire devoured, depraved country. Nelson's Run is a painfully good read. It is haunting precisely because even as satire, much of the narrative sounds true.

Years of trying to make sense of sex, power, and Filipino politics fall into the 145 pages of Nelson's Run and can be read in one sitting. Interesting, engaging, and a fast read, I highly recommend the experience, but be prepared to be haunted by the pornographic images long after your 3 hour tour of Nelson's Run.

As printed in UCR's "Asian Community Times"

Wonderfully Disturbing  Sep 4, 2002
It's written as a satire, but a reader couched in Filipino-American history can't help but think that everything Bacho writes is possible. He successfully gets people to think about the complicated relationship of white-love that the "native" Filipinos and the Filipino diaspora share with white America. It's VERY much worth the read.
Broad satire with a high body count  Jul 17, 2002
Sort of a Filipino(-American) _Crying of Lot 49_, this brisk picaresque novel satirizes Filipino political life..., American slackerdom, and mothers' sexual domination of surrogate sons. Call it "brown humor" rather than "black humor," with a low-to-no-initiative protagonist and a series of strong, focused Filipinas vying for his Angloish body. The flippant narrative, which what a Filipino post-Freudian Jonathan Swift might serve, goes down easily, but is likely to cause heartburn if masticated.
An engaging ride full of sharp edges and sudden turns  Apr 12, 2002
Nelson's Run by novelist Peter Bacho is a tongue-in-cheek satire about the protagonist Nelson, a man who, in his fervent desire to escape work or long-term relationships for the heady pleasures of hedonism, finds himself inexorably drawn between conflicting paths and two very attractive tango dancers on the war-stricken Philippine island of Samar. Sexy, funny, but also a darkly twisted work of compelling fiction, Nelson's Run is an engaging ride full of sharp edges and sudden turns.

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