PACHINKO meets HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD
After Japanese forces in the Philippines murder her father and kidnap her younger sister, seventeen-year-old Liwayway joins the Huk guerillas, fighting the Japanese while searching for her sister. But when Liwayway befriends an American GI who offers her a reprieve from war, she must choose between the possibility of finding her sister and the promise of a new life.
My childhood ended the night our neighbor, Rodrigo de Guzman, came knocking on our door when I should have been asleep. Maybe the heat kept me awake that night, or maybe it was the sixth sense nanay always said I had. I lay staring at the strip of sky that separated the cement walls from the ceiling. The moon was curved like a woman arching her back. I watched it climb slowly through space, waiting for it to slip out of sight, for the roosters to crow.
Next to me on the low mattress, Malaya’s elbow pressed against me. Her cotton nightgown tickled my leg as she inhaled and exhaled.
There was a knock, barely audible, like the flapping of wings.
Then a voice. “Pssst!”
In the next room my parents’ bed creaked, then tatay’s shadow slipped past my doorway. I held my breath until the back door clicked shut.
The kitchen floor was cold against my feet. From the middle of the room, I watched my father follow our neighbor into his house. When tatay did not exit after one minute, then five, I carried a chair from the kitchen table and sat by the window. I stayed there a long time, studying the way the moonlight struck the corrugated roof of the chicken coop. A gecko, still and soundless on the wall, kept me company as it lay in wait.