Anvil 2011, softcover, 168 pages, ISBN 9789712724435
Finalist for the 31st National Book Awards Philippines
Spare yet Powerful Stories … Scenographic
This is a collection of twenty stories, some of which were “salvaged” (as Cecilia puts it) from a novel that “fizzled after my mother’s death.” Some stories were inspired by her visits to various places including Vigan in the Philippines, Cuzco in Peru, San Miguel Allende in Mexico, and India. The sad stories about mothers were inspired by her own mother whose complexity will always be a source of contemplation for Cecilia. Vigan and Other Stories was a finalist of the 31st National Book Awards of the Philippines.
“In this, her third collection of short stories, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard shows an uncanny talent for speaking in varied voices that bridge time and place: she is at home in Vigan, the mythical Ubec (Cebu), Sagada, Manila, Cusco, Peru, Calcutta, Chartres, California, bringing each location alive with loving detail. She speaks as a school girl, an older woman, a love-struck boy, a stolen child, an underground revolutionary. She writes of her own family and childhood with love and sadness and a deep sense of humanity. Most charming? ‘Meeting Che Guevara’, which starts out “I was nineteen when I met Che Guevara.”’ (Susan Evangelista, Professor, Palawan State University)
“This is a rich and generous collection of stories. They spring from various sources–autobiographical, anecdotal and experimental. It entertains the casual reader, instructs aspiring and practising writers alike, and enriches the country’s culture.” (Paulino Lim, Jr., Professor Emeritus, California State University)
“Cecilia’s style is even more spare or sparing, letting the words do the barest possible work of depicting action, description, or sequencing the events in the collected narratives…I’d call this style, which seems fairly unique to her (even when compared to that of old masters like Bulosan and Gonzalez), as scenographic, to borrow a term from cinema.” (Oscar V. Campomanes, Professor, Ateneo de Manila University)
Introduction by Oscar V. Campomanes