PALH (Philippine American Literary House) announces the release of the US edition of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s short story collection, Acapulco at Sunset and Other Stories. The book is available from Amazon on sale for $11.95: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1953716075
First published in the Philippines in 1995, the book collects seventeen stories inspired by the author’s Filipino and Filipino American experiences; they are grouped into four categories: Long Ago Tales, Stories from the ‘60s and ‘70s, Stories from the ‘90s, and American Tales.
In the Introduction to the 2020 US edition, the author notes “The book had a strange beginning. Shortly after it was launched, Anvil (the publisher) had a fire in their warehouse, and many copies of this book were destroyed. Because of that the hardbound and softcover copies of this book were particularly hard to find.
“In fact, there are many strong stories in this collection, some of them dear to my heart, such as: “Butterscotch Marble”, inspired by my early married years in San Francisco; “Manila Without Verna”, inspired by the death of an activist classmate during the oppressive Marcos dictatorship; “The Virgin’s Last Night”, inspired by my spinster aunt who had a suitor who never gave up; and many others.
The poet Marjorie Evasco praised the book saying: “The stories of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard tell of voyages the heart could have taken, of places haunted by old memories like ghosts lingering under an ancient mango tree, of times seemingly irretrievable but always there at the farthest end of the thread of remembering”
Professor Les Adler writes in Pilipinas that “Brainard enriches the conventional understanding of exile by applying the concept to Filipino experience in the Philippines. She is thereby able to show the cultural and social issues that a Filipino/a faces while in exile are universal Filipino experiences.”
Isagani R. Cruz’s review in StarWeek notes that: “In Brainard’s stories, Acapulco and Intramuros are the same, and at the same time, completely different places. Dead characters and live characters talk to each other nonchalantly. A young poor boy falls in love with an older rich woman, and by loving her, kills her. Filipinos find their identity in, of course, San Francisco, but not so ordinarily, in Alaska. The green card — actually blue — spells the difference between authenticity and an authentic life, between dreaming and the American dream.
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Tags; Philippines Philippine books literature literary fiction short stories Filipino Pinoy