I’m holding a mystery novel named Smaller and Smaller Circles and I’m proud to tell you that it is written by a Filipino novelist, F. H. Batacan. Yes! It’s actually the first crime novel in the Philippines. I’m so happy that this exists to prove that Philippine literature is still alive despite of all the Filipino Wattpad fantasies teens of this generation are patronizing.
I already knew Smaller and Smaller Circles before and I knew that the story is interesting since Filipino crime in a book is something new to me. But I was afraid I might not understand it because from its cover, I thought that it’s something deep and descriptive. But then, our Literature professor required us to read it so I was left with no choice. Therefore, here I was, reading Smaller and Smaller Circles in e-book because I’m in my province where National Bookstore is one sea away. Anyway, by viewing the first few chapters, I proved myself wrong. The choice of words isn’t difficult to understand at all, which made me dig deeper into it.
Smaller and Smaller Circles revolves around the serial killings of young boys in Payatas, Quezon City, a village here in the Philippines. Due to the inefficiency of National Bureau of Investigation, Jesuit priests, Gus Saenz and Jerome Lucero, who are also forensic anthropologist and psychologist respectively, take matters into own hands and solve the said crime. Since the novel will be adapted to a film, I won’t give further details about the plot. It is brilliantly written. That’s all I can say.
But apart from that, I discern that it talks about the reality of life in the Philippines. It speaks a lot about how corrupt the government is and how fucked up the investigation system in the country is. We can see here the life of those living in poverty. The government is so unfair to them that they take no effort if they know that the victims are poor. In this novel, I also learned little things like how forensic stuff works and priesthood, which reminds me of my Theology classes. There’s actually a lot to learn and a lot to realize about the Philippines.
As I always tell, I’m into crime. There’s part of me that’s wants to be a detective so it is not hard for me to get hooked into the story. There are even times that it made me trembled. In fact, when I was in the part when Father Saenz faced the suspect, I moved to my mom’s bedroom to get a little comfort. Comparing Smaller and Smaller Circles to other local books I’ve read, it’s undeniably the best. Well, the Filipino books I’ve read are not that much because I’m tired of hearing cliche stories. Comparing it to international novels I’ve read, I think the level of mystery of this book lines up with them. At first, the scenes are direct to the point but as I flipped through the pages, it gets puzzling and intense.
I recommend this book. But if you’re not into reading, there’s a film adaptation coming so don’t miss that.