by Cecilia Brainard, Erma Cuizon, Susan Evangelista, Veronica Montes, Nadine Sarreal
Anvil 2010, softcover, 202 pages, ISBN 9789712724282
Engrossing Collaborative Novel
Angelica’s Daughters is a dugtungan or connecting novel written by five authors. The authors were inspired by this writing tradition which was popular in the Philippines in the 1920s. Each author wrote a chapter or part of the novel, then passed the work on to the next author. Testing to see if they could do this collaborative work, the authors did not set out to write a serious novel, but something fun.
“Chick lit with a comfortable dose of smartness and historical verve. Angelica’s Daughters celebrates audacious heroines primed by deep passion and fairytale romance! Set in the heat of a 19th-century Asian revolution and what its setting becomes by the 21st Century, Angelica’s Daughters beguiles with its mythic splendor, threat of a generational curse, masterful betrayals, and female leads readers can fall in love with.
The story found itself as one writer finished her chapter without consulting the others, and passed it on for the next writer in line to do with as she pleased. The amazing result is a delightful read by five writers who cherish their Hispanic, Filipino, and American cultural roots.” (Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, Writer)
This collective and collaborative novel proves that writers share much more than just an interest in, as one of the authors puts it, “the idea of creating something of rare beauty out of nothing at all.” They share a Creative Unconscious that, when working on a common text, comes up with startling and unpredictable imaginative delights and insights. This tale of two women living a century apart (and the women and men in their lives) told sequentially by five women is truly an ensemble performance worth a standing ovation. (Isagani R. Cruz for The Philippine Star)
“Part of the pleasure of reading Angelica’s Daughters, the engrossing new collaborative novel by five established Filipina writers, is seeing how deftly the authors deal with the challenge of writing in this resurrected literary form. A dugtungan is a genre of Tagalog novel popular early in the 20th century, in which each writer creates a chapter and hands it off to the next, who writes another chapter without direction. The result, in this case, is an ensemble performance that contains something of the exhilaration of theatrical improv. One watches these accomplished authors inventively weave a historical romance, creating gripping heroines and turns of plot, crossing decades and national boundaries, tapping into cultural roots of the Philippines, Spain and America. Reading Angelica’s Daughters is a gripping experience. (Brian Ascalon Roley, Author of American Son)
Libay Linsangan Cantor for The Manila Times, October 17, 2010
Ron S. Lim for The Manila Bulletin, September 24, 2010
Dr. Michaela Keck’s review for Asian Studies, Vol, 47, 2011