The collection of short stories, CONTEMPORARY FICTION BY FILIPINOS IN AMERICA edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, is available on Kindle.
Harold Augenbraum reviewed the book in Manoa, saying: ““By pulling these personal, fictional quests together, the reader indeed comes away with a varied portrait of Filipinos in America, not the expression of dark causality present in the earlier generations of writers, such as Bulosan and Santos—those fantastic conjurors of Filipino American literature—but of people cautiously settling into what they hope will be a comfortable position … So many of these stories convey loneliness, disconnectedness, and an inability to form lasting attachments … This collection abounds with such tension … Brainard has done a fine job of bringing many little-known writers – and the edginess of Filipinos in America – to the fore. ”
The stories in this collection are varied. There are stories set in the Philippines such as Luis Cabalquinto’s “The Fog,” N.V.M. Gonzalez’ “Confessions of a Dawn Person,” Mar Puatu’s “Valentinus,” and Marianne Villanueva’s “Sutil.” Told with humor and a touch of pathos, Veronica Montes’ “Of Midgets and Beautiful Cousins,” tells an American-born Filipina girl’s Manila Visit. Eileen Tabios’s “Negros” and John Silva’s sultry “Dolly Rivera” hearken the Marcos years in the Philippines.
On the other hand, there are stories focusing on the Filipino American experience-among them are Mila Faraon Heubeck’s enchanting “The Pig-Slop Man,” Lee Respicio Colomby’s moving “The Lost Hero,” and Alma Jill Dizon’s mournful “Bride.”
Eulalio Yerro Ibarra’s “Paperback Dreams and Other Realities” jolts us with the contemporary gay/AIDS issue. Nadine Sarreal’s “Hang, Man” reminds us of the Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong and other parts of the world. The Filipino American gang issue is dealt with by Lilia Villanueva in her story “My Gang/My Family.”
We have stories about women: the headstrong Glenda in Edgar Poma’s “The Little Boy Who Fell in the Puka;” the overwhelmed balikbayan in Melissa Aranzamendez’s story; the tormented wife in Linda Ty-CAsper’s “Dark Star/Altered Seeds.”
And we have stories about men: the cynical Bogey Reyes during the Vietnam years who finds peace in the homeland of his father; the puzzled young man in F. Delor Angeles’s “Grandma and Spanish Women”; the down-to-earth ex-priests in Paulino Lim, Jr.’s “A Certain Failing.”
The story by Greg Sarris, grandson of Eulalio Helario, from Panay, who married a Coast Miwok American Indian, is part of this anthology. Although Sarris’s contribution, “Joy Ride,” has a strong Native American point of view, I have included it in this collection because the writer’s history adds to the greater picture of the Filipino in America.