Monday, March 9, 2020

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan

I don't remember how I initially discovered Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan. I had been looking to read more books written by Filipino writers and this one fit the bill. I liked the storyline, that it was a mystery set in the Philippines and it won the Philippine National Book Award. So last year, I downloaded the unabridged audio version of Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan and narrated by Ramon de Ocampo with the intention of listening to it last fall... But I didn't find the time to listen to this audiobook until last month.

I thought that Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan was really well narrated by Ramon de Ocampo. Smaller and Smaller Circles deals with a lot of hot topics like poverty, politics, corruption, child molestation, priests as child molesters, and a serial killer on the loose. I found it intriguing to have two Jesuit priests as the detectives looking into the deaths of preteen boys. 

I liked listening to Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan. But this mystery novel wasn't as spectacular as I'd hoped it would be based on it being the winner of the Philippine National Book Award.

Listening time for Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan is 10 hours, 45 minutes.

The following is the plot summary for Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan from Audible:
This harrowing mystery, winner of the Philippine National Book Award, follows two Catholic priests on the hunt through Manila for a brutal serial killer.
Payatas, a 50-acre dump northeast of Manila's Quezon City, is home to thousands of people who live off of what they can scavenge there. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in a city whose law enforcement is already stretched thin, devoid of forensic resources, and rife with corruption. So when the eviscerated bodies of preteen boys begin to appear in the dump heaps, there is no one to seek justice on their behalf.
In the rainy summer of 1997, two Jesuit priests take the matter of protecting their flock into their own hands. Father Gus Saenz is a respected forensic anthropologist, one of the few in the Philippines, and has been tapped by the director of the National Bureau of Investigations as a backup for police efforts. Together with his protégé, Father Jerome Lucero, a psychologist, Saenz dedicates himself to tracking down the monster preying on these impoverished boys. Smaller and Smaller Circles, widely regarded as the first Filipino crime novel, is a poetic masterpiece of literary noir, a sensitive depiction of a time and place and a fascinating story about the Catholic Church and its place in its devotees' lives.
I'm giving Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan 3 stars out of 5 stars,

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. Given that there are not that many books by Filipino writers, I would take a chance on this one. It does seem like books that win prizes in Asian areas are often mystery/crime/thrillers.