BOOKS: HAVE GUITAR, WILL TRAVEL

AN IMMIGRANT'S TALE WITH A ROCK AND ROLE TWIST

From the Philippines to the United States. From San Francisco to New York City. From the '70s to the '80s, from jazz to rock, from lumpia (a Filipino dish) to peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, from Tagalog (a language native to the Philippines) to English, from assimilation blues to a graceful homecoming. Jessica Hagedorn's new novel, The Gangster of Love, is a book about transition, movement, emigration, immigration and repatriation. Though the title could hardly be sillier or more ungainly--it sounds like an afterhours movie on Cinemax--the book itself is written with wit and style and ultimately achieves an elegant poignancy.

Hagedorn tells the...

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