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The Man in the McIntosh Suit

The Man in the McIntosh Suit

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By Rina Ayuyang. Published by Drawn & Quarterly. 

Softcover, 212 pages, Monochrome and Colour, 2023. 

A Filipino-American take on Depression-era noir featuring mistaken identities, speakeasies, and lost love

The year is 1929 and Bobot is just another migrant worker in rural California. Or rather, a migrant worker with a law degree from the Philippines reduced to manual labor in America. Bobot, like so many other young Filipinos, finds himself bunking in the fields picking fruit by day. When his cousin writes claiming to have spotted his estranged wife in nearby San Francisco, he swipes a co-worker’s favorite nightclub suit and heads to the big city to find her. What follows is classic noir with seedy dives, mouthy pool sharks, and obsession.

Rina Ayuyang indulges her passion for old Hollywood and elaborate movie musicals while exploring her immigrant roots in a playful and mysterious drama creating something she never saw but always had hoped for—a classic tale about people who looked just like her. The Man in the McIntosh Suit is a gripping, romantic and psychological exploration of a fledgling community chasing the American dream in an unwelcoming society heightened by racial hostility and the bubbling undercurrent of the coming Great Depression.

“A fast-paced thriller of a story combining history with heartbreak, Rina Ayuyang’s graphic novel mixes Manong lore with an individual’s dreams.”—Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto

“Tight, compelling, evocative, Rina Ayuyang’s The Man in the McIntosh Suit transports us to a colonial-era Philippines and a California of migrant workers and hardscrabble opportunities, set to a soundtrack of loss and 1920s love songs. She vividly reminds us that the Filipino Dream was once the American Dream, and that both are but the shared aspiration of humanity towards a better future. In this intriguing noir-esque tale of many twists, love is the real mystery, along with the universal search for one’s place in the world. This is a beautiful, lyrical book of images and insight. Read it!”—Miguel Syjuco, author of the Man Asia Literary Prize winner Illustrado

"This melancholic yet glimmering story brings to life a generation of immigrants often overlooked by histories of the period."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Set against a historically accurate anti-Asian backdrop (some things never change), Ayuyang deftly intertwines a heart-thumping mystery with didn’t-see-that-happening love stories."—ALA Booklist

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