History as Rumor: The Political Fantasy of the Negrense Elite in Vicente Groyon's The Sky Over Dima

Isabel Pefianco Martin, Ateneo de Manila University


This ideological critique reads Vicente Groyon’s The Sky Over Dimas in its appropriation of historiographic metafiction. The paper argues that its two borrowed modes, historiography and metafiction, function as a symbolic act following Fredric Jameson’s Marxist interpretive ground of the political. In The Sky Over Dimas, historiographic metafiction is a symbolic act that articulates the political unconscious/fantasy of the landed elite while repressing their role in the perpetuation of the feudal system of sugar in Negros. This provisionalizing or bracketing of history in the novel, unlike other historiographic metafictional texts like Great Philippine Jungle Energy Café, State of War and Empire of Memory, does not foreground any “alternative histories” of the marginal or the ex-centric. Instead, the novel withholds narrative (and historical) truth, reduces most of its narrative circumstances to gossip and speculation to humanize its protagonists—the hacendero class in Negros. It is this displacement or deviation from the emergent form of historiographic metafiction, its generic series, which engenders a diachronic differential reading that allows the novel to be construed as a symbolic act—an ideological reply or imagined solution to an actual social dilemma.