The Sky Over Dimas, by Vicente Garcia Groyon, is one of the interesting, intriguing novels I’ve had the pleasure to read. It stirred my curiosity starting from the opening sentence; “The fact is: George Torrecarion went crazy.” This line alone is fitting to describe the central issue of the story and it explains how the dark secrets of the Torrecarions and Jarabases would be unveiled. Hence, this statement is like a well from which the story springs forth and evolves. .
Groyon, a lecturer at De La Salle University College of Communication Arts, captures the grandeur of Bacolod, the tradition of Negros society, and the haughty demeanor of hacienderos, in this novel that won the grand prize from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2002. He sets his narrative on the small island of Negros, a land associated with fields and fields of sugarcane that dates back during the Spanish colonization. .
The Sky Over Dimas is a fictionalized history of an upper middle class family, the Torrecarions. It is a retelling of the twist and turns of the lives of George, a man on the verge of lunacy, and his saintly wife Margie, their progeny, and their forefathers. The basic plot is Rafael, George’s sole biological son, undertaking a rescue mission to bring back his father from Dimas manor. This purpose alone is the only reason which finally forces Rafael, who is now living in Manila, back to Negros after swearing many years ago that he will never set foot in his homeland ever again. Thus, Rafael spends the night on Jarabas mansion and sets out the next morning to hacienda Dimas and brings his father back in an ambulance. In his quest, Rafael is flooded with memories of his childhood and his return brings about a surge of flashbacks, plot detours, and the appearance of other characters.
The story takes place on Negros Occidental, in the city of Bacolod, where sugar production is as inescapable as death.