US Edition: PALH, 2021, softcover, 186 pages, $17.95, ISBN 978–1‑953716–11‑8
Philippine Edition: University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2016, softcover, 146 pages, ISBN 978–971-506–801‑7 — available from Lazada and Shopee
In the US, this book was first published by Plain View Press in 2002
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Poetic and Lyrical
Written in the fragmented style, Cecilia Brainard’s lyrical second novel Magdalena, tells the stories of three generations of Filipino women whose lives have been affected by the Philippine American War, World War Two, and the Vietnam War. The novel is a favorite among poets, academics and feminists.
“Expertly written by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard … Magdalena is set in the chaotic backdrop of twentieth century East Asia. A romantic, powerful tale of three generations of Filipino women, written with a close eye on the terrors of war and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II, Magdalena is an intense, involving, highly recommended saga that documents author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard as a gifted author with a mastery of storytelling that will keep the reader’s total attention and engagement from first page to last!” (Midwest Book Review)
“Cecilia Manguerra Brainard has written an ambitious novel of forbidden love. Set against the turbulent history of East Asia in the twentieth century and by turns erotic and tragic, Magdalena vividly depicts three generations of strong Filipino women.” (Aimee Liu, author of Cloud Mountain)
“With her second novel, Magdalena, Cecilia Brainard adds new portraits to the gallery in Philippine literature. She has always had a strong sense of place. Here, she provides an inner landscape as well. Together, these provide the coordinate for the family secrets that bind the characters as securely as bloodlines. By the end they have glimpsed who they have become, allowing the novel beyond its last page, to live on in the readers’ thoughts.” (Linda Ty-Casper, author of The Stranded Whale)
“In this novel, Brainard blends a series of multiple perspectives to create a polyphony of voices that enacts Philippines society … The narrative is a nuanced vision of the workings of culture, social obligation, social class, obligation and the Filipino personality.” (Rocio G. Davis, author of Transcultural Reinventions: Asian American and Asian Canadian Short Story Cycles)
“Rarely have I read such exquisite command of storytelling as I see in the pages of this novel. Here she uses the backdrop of a Japanese-occupied Philippines to maximum effect, devastating the reader’s emotions without giving any quarter nor taking any prisoners. You die inside and come to life again when the feelings of hope hit you – and they will.” (Alma Anonas-Carpio for Philippines Graphic)
Research Papers and Other Scholarly Writings
Fictionalized Bodies: The Representations of the Female Body in the Short Stories of Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard
by John Jack C. Wigley
(“Representations of the Female Body in Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s Fiction.” MA Literature Thesis, University of Santo Tomas.)
Published: Unitas, Quarterly Scholarly Journal of the University of Santo Tomas, Vol. 77, No. 3, September 2004