From the author of the National Book Award finalist Patron Saints of Nothing comes an emotionally charged, moving novel about four generations of Filipino American boys grappling with identity, masculinity, and their fraught father-son relationships.
Watsonville, 1930. Francisco Maghabol barely ekes out a living in the fields of California. As he spends what little money he earns at dance halls and faces increasing violence from white men in town, Francisco wonders if he should’ve never left the Philippines.
Stockton, 1965. Between school days full of prejudice from white students and teachers and night shifts working at his aunt’s restaurant, Emil refuses to follow in the footsteps of his labor organizer father, Francisco. He’s going to make it in this country no matter what or who he has to leave behind.
Denver, 1983. Chris is determined to prove his overbearing father, Emil, can’t control him. However, when a missed assignment on “ancestral history” sends Chris off the football team and into the library, he discovers a desire to know more about Filipino history―even if his father dismisses his interest as unamerican and unimportant.
Philadelphia, 2020. Enzo struggles to keep his anxiety in check as a global pandemic breaks out and his abrasive grandfather moves in. While tensions are high between his dad and his lolo, Enzo’s daily walks with Lolo Emil have him wondering if maybe he can help bridge their decades-long rift.
Told in multiple perspectives, Everything We Never Had unfolds like a beautifully crafted nesting doll, where each Maghabol boy forges his own path amid heavy family and societal expectations, passing down his flaws, values, and virtues to the next generation, until it’s up to Enzo to see how he can braid all these strands and men together.