Awaiting Trespass, State of War, and Gun Dealers’ Daughter: Stories of fear and resistance in the Marcos era

Awaiting Trespass, Linda Ty-Casper, 1985

State of War, Ninotchka Rosca, 1988

Gun Dealers’ Daughter, Gina Apostel, 2010

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Every reference to food in F. Sionil José’s “Dusk”

There is an overwhelming preoccupation with food in this book. Part of this is emblematic of the central characters’ struggle and drive to survive: as refugees, the food they bring and gather to see them through their flight is crucial, as is the prospect of what they will grow and eat when they finally arrive. José’s repeated assertions that “they were Ilokanos—they would not starve anywhere” and “Ilokanos can eat what other people cannot,” are both a descriptive and symbolic. The industrious and persevering Ilocano characters of the book are set in contrast with the overbearing but sloppy Spanish rulers who make their lives so miserable and who, ironically, dismiss all “indios” (native Filipinos) as lazy and stupid. “As for patience and industry,” José writes, “they were Ilokanos born to these virtues—it was in their blood, in the very air they breathed.” Istak and his family are resourceful and resilient, overcoming hardship and scarcity to carve a new life for themselves.

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Last year’s books and next year’s plans

Well, it’s a new year, and although I usually make kind of half-assed, unspoken resolutions (except for the time I resolved to floss every day, which is also the only resolution I’ve ever kept for a full year), this year I’m going to lay out some specific goals for the blog—because I’m just sick of writing blog posts a year after reading the book (or, ok, two years at this point, which is just objectively ridiculous)—and I’m letting you know about it because if I manage to follow through, there will be a serious uptick in e-mail notifications and I don’t want anyone to be annoyed (at least not without being forewarned).

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Darangen: too epic for me

Darangen: in original Maranao verse with English translation, vol. I, Anon. (oral epic), transcribed by Hadji Lawa Cali et al., translated by Ma. Delia Coronel, 1986 (original composition sometime before the 14th century)

  • Philippines, #1
  • Borrowed from San Francisco Public Library (via interlibrary loan)
  • Read October 2017
  • Rating 3/5
  • Recommended for: scholars, princesses in towers, and other people with lots of time on their hands

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