This is a strange book, because it takes 4 sets of characters (an Englishman in Manila, the local "heavy" that he's due to meet, 2 street kids, and a family) and watches what happens in the run up to (and after) the time when these 4 groups collide.
It's a good, but rather, depressing book. It's set in a third world country which has very little evidence of "forward momentum" and you know from how the book's written that no one's going to be happy at the end (unless something startling happens).
In a strange way, it actually reminded me of the last series of A League of Gentlemen (without the laughs) for those who are interested in how it's structured.
Incidentally, one of the closest things I have to a claim to fame is that I actually went to school with Alex Garland, and if you were to read anything by him I'd say that this book was closest to his take on things as a teenager.