After her plans for the future are disrupted by an unexpected breakup, Benni, born and raised in northern Ontario, seeks escape from her everyday routine by visiting her father in the Philippines-- the fantastical land of ghosts and glamour that her parents described to her as a child. In the Philippines, Benni is captivated by the luxurious lifestyle of the wealthy members of her mother's family. Canada, in comparison, is a bleak world of work, work, and more work, and Benni cannot understand why her parents ever left. During her visit, Benni finds much more than she bargained for: she discovers a world of poverty that supports the rich and the social restrictions that even the rich experience; she learns to value the honest, human relationships that come from seeking and reconnecting with family; and she comes to understand the importance of the stories we tell ourselves to construct and maintain our identity.
"Set in the tumultuous, vivid world of modern day Philippines, Shade explores such diverse issues of identity, multiculturalism, celebrity television culture, poverty and wealth, with prose that is as bright and brilliant as the country it depicts. Poignant but never sentimental, serious yet humorous, Mia Herrera follows in the great novelistic tradition of depicting characters who need to get away in order to find out where they come from."
-- David Layton, author of The Bird Factory and Motion Sickness