Before the Rain by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa

An impassioned memoir of love between two journalists, set amid travel and revolution.


Luisita López Torregrosa (The Noise of Infinite Longing) is a New York newspaper editor when Elizabeth comes aboard as a new reporter in the 1980s. Her quiet, self-contained, slightly mysterious air draws Luisita’s attention. When Elizabeth lands a sought-after position as foreign correspondent, she builds a home for herself in Manila. Luisita joins her there, and the two women throw themselves hesitatingly and then wholeheartedly into a passionate affair against the backdrop of the fall of Ferdinand Marcos.

As a love story, Before the Rain is spellbinding and heartwrenching, but Torregrosa’s highest feat is perhaps one of poetry. Her tone is haunting, lyrical and sensuous. Readers will feel the equatorial heat of the Philippines and the beat of the Manila Blues, smell the mangoes and squatters’ camps, taste the margaritas and then feel the biting cold of New York winters as the story returns to the United States.

Before the Rain is a memoir of revolution as well as love: the beauty, upheaval and political turmoil of the Philippines are handled sensitively and lovingly. Besides Manila, Luisita and Elizabeth live and travel in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Miami, Rio and Washington, D.C.– and each of these places leaves its mark. But their relationship is always the book’s main focus. The two women travel, move, work various jobs (some rewarding, some soul-draining); and throughout, their ardor has a momentum all its own. Even in its painful finale, that love is this book’s most lovely evocation.


This review originally ran in the August 10, 2012 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!


Rating: 8 sheets of newsprint.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the review. Sounds like I’d like this book. Will look for it at my library,

  2. [...] My favorite time of day is: Jeeves in the Morning, Before the Rain [...]

  3. [...] Before the Rain, Luisita Lopez Torregrosa [...]

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