Welcome to the blog of the bookshop dedicated to Filipino-Americans in search of their roots.
We invite you to an intimate gathering of colleagues and friends to remember Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez (NVM for short) on the centenary of his birth. People who knew him personally and those who only knew NVM through his books, please join us. Those who never knew him or have never heard of him, let us introduce him to you.
NVM was born in Romblon, Philippines on Sept 8, 1915 and he grew up in Mindoro. He passed away on November 28, 1999 at the age of 84 in Manila. NVM was a Filipino novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet. He wrote five novels, eight short fiction and two essays. His books have been published in Pilipino, English and translated into Chinese, German, Russian and Indonesian.
He was on the Board of Advisers of Likhaan, the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center, Founding Editor of The Diliman Review and first president of the Philippine Writers’ Association. He attended creative writing classes under Wallace Stegner and Katherine Anne Porter at Stanford University, and taught in the Philippines at UST, PWU and UP. He also taught in the US at UC-Santa Barbara, CSU-Hayward, the University of Washington, UCLA and UC-Berkeley.
The following will share their memories of NVM: Dr Paulino Lim, author and professor emeritus, CSU-Long Beach; multi-awarded author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard; Dr Barbara Gaerlan, Asst. Director of UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies; Allan G. Aquino, who lectures at CSU-Northridge and a former student of NVM at UCLA, and Cecilia Ochoa, a participant at the NVM Writers’ Workshop conducted by author Peter Bacho.
Dr Michael Gonzalez of the Philippine Studies Department, City College of San Francisco and Director/Founder of NVM Gonzalez Writers’ Workshop will show an excerpt from a short film on his Dad, ‘A Story Yet To Be Told’ by Jerome Academia and Russell Leung. A trained classic guitarist, he will also play his Dad’s favorite music, as well as speak about his Dad’s books.The works of NVM are rich in imagery of nature, and his stories are set in natural scenes of rural Philippines and the islands. Written long before we were concerned with ecology and climate changes, they showed his own personal awareness of the environment way ahead of our time.
The following is a list of his books, Novels: The Winds of April, 1941; A Season of Grace, 1956; The Bamboo Dancers, 1988; The Land and the Rain, and The Happiest Boy in the World. Short Fiction: Seven Hills Away, 1947; Children of the Ash-Covered Loam and Other Stories, 1954, republished 1992; Look, Stranger, On This Island Now, 1964; Selected Stories, 1964; Mindoro and Beyond: Twenty-One Stories, 1981 and republished 1989; The Bread of Salt and Other Stories, 1993; A Grammar of Dreams and Other Stories, 1997 and The Tomato Game, 1993. Essays: A Novel of Justice: Selected Essays 1968-1994 and Work on the Mountain, 1996.
Event Sponsors: Philippine Expressions Bookshop, Friends of the Echo Park Branch Library and UCLA Asian American Studies Center.
Community Partners: Fil Am Arts, Fil Am Library, Filipino American Service Group (FASGI) and the Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles (est. 1978).
The event is free and open to everyone but RSVP is requested.
Email: email@example.com or call (310) 514-9139.
The program is part of the ongoing outreach efforts of Philippine Expressions Bookshop and a tribute to NVM and his wife, Narita Manuel Gonzalez who passed away recently at age 94. Both have been mentors to a lot of Filipino and Filipino American writers, and most especially, to Linda Nietes, owner of the bookshop.
We offer you online a selection of titles suitable as Christmas gifts at discounted prices between November 30 1 to December 15, 2013. More titles added everyday!
Less 20% above titles while supplies last!!
We also offer you a selection of titles at $5.00 each in the following Basket, with a minimum purchase of 5 titles, single or assorted titles.
Available while supplies last.
JOIN US! FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL !
Celebrate the ARTS AND CULTURE OF THE PHILIPPINES
USC Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Avenue,
Pasadena, CA 91101
Sunday, December 13, 2015
10:00am – 6:00pm
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Storytelling Session. Philippine folktales for children and adult.
11:30 a.m. –
A demonstration of how to make Philippine Christmas lanterns called Parols. Parols are traditionally star-shapped lanterns that hang in windows in Philippine homes during Christmas. Instructor: Artist Eliseo Art Silva. A repeat session will be at 3:00pm
12:30 p.m. –
Kayamanan ng Lahi will take festival goers on a journey throughout the Philippines with its repertoire of music and dances. The audience will experience the feel of the Philippines and will get the opportunity to learn some of the steps of the dances. A repeat performance will be at2:00pm
Books on various aspects of Philippine culture will be available at the table of Philippine Expressions Bookshop as part of their ongoing community outreach program. Enjoy the culture of the Philippines and give a give a book for Christmas – a gift that will continue giving over the years! Mabuhay!
PLEASE SHARE THIS EMAIL. MARAMING SALAMAT PO.
TITLE: “Dream Jungle”
AUTHOR: Jessica Hagedorn
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
REVIEW PUBLISHED IN: The New York Times, Oct. 5, 2003 by Michael Harris
A narrative collage hopscotching from year to year, from place to place and from one point of view to another: that’s what Jessica Hagedorn offers in her intricate new novel, which boldly links a Manila millionaire’s ”discovery” of a Stone Age tribe on Mindanao with a filmed re-creation of the Vietnam War on that same guerrilla-plagued island six years later.
”Dream Jungle” scrupulously documents its chosen time and place: the Marcos-controlled Philippines of the 1970’s. But it also, more ambitiously, engages with the unreliability of the realities it depicts.
Could this whole Stone Age tribe business (based on the controversy surrounding the ”gentle” Tasaday) be a fraud? Will the fake war (based on Francis Ford Coppola’s filming of ”Apocalypse Now” in the Philippines) make contact with the real hostilities nearby? Can ”Napalm Sunset” — Hagedorn’s perfect title for the film — do justice to the agonizing war that inspired it? What interference (or protection) can the filmmakers and anthropologists expect from the Philippine military and the Marcos government?
The book repeatedly zeroes in on the societal repercussions of heavily stage-managed creations, whether they be films, unlikely anthropological discoveries or the public face presented by a repressive regime to its citizens. But Hagedorn, thankfully, puts none of this down too baldly on the page. Instead, she intuits and insinuates her way around a dozen memorable characters and milieus, letting her concerns swarm beneath the busy surface of her narrative.
The result is her best book since ”Dogeaters,” and a fine recovery from her flawed second novel, ”The Gangster of Love.” Indeed, ”Dogeaters” and ”Dream Jungle” stand together like installments in a single panoramic Philippine historical epic, with just the right amount of cheesy delight in pop culture and tacky behavior to keep things from getting too pompous or ponderous.
”Dream Jungle” doesn’t exactly have a plot, but it does have numerous plot points that allow the yearnings and fates of its pivotal characters to intertwine. Chief among these characters is Zamora Lopez de Legazpi, son of one of the five richest men in the Philippines, husband to an indolent ”Teutonic goddess of a wife,” who pines for her native Munich, and father to two lackluster children, ages 10 years and 5 months. Until he’s introduced to the Taobo in the wilds of Mindanao, Zamora’s main interest is in seducing the household help and the occasional film actress. But becoming the ”Spirit Father” to a group of cave dwellers threatened by ”bandits, insurgent guerrillas” and ”goon squads hired by greedy logging companies” gives him a newfound purpose in life — nicely summed up in a Manila tabloid headline: ”Ex-Playboy Saves Our Cave men!”
A second key player is Rizalina Cayabyab, the beautiful 10-year-old daughter of Zamora’s cook. Sole survivor of a ferry disaster in which her father and brothers drowned, she becomes a servant in Zamora’s mansion, where the master of the house is quick to note the headstrong curiosity and intelligence of ”dear little blunt Rizalina.” She seems just feisty enough to hold her own against him.
Seemingly unconnected to these two — at least at first — is an American actor named Vincent Moody, a former child star who, at 26, finds his career languishing. Hired for a supporting role in the Vietnam War movie (”Risky,” his agent says, ”but the buzz is unbelievable”), Moody prepares for his part by ditching his girlfriend and child in Santa Monica, flying to Manila and hanging out in a go-go bar called the Love Connection (nicely described as ”a sad party waiting to happen”). Moody — ”wan as a ghost, kind and strangely sweet, even when he was high or drunk” — has been cast as ”a lovable kook who rides off into the napalm sunset.”
Anchoring the novel’s latter half and linking its various elements is Paz Marlowe, a Philippine-American journalist freelancing for a magazine called Groove Rocket (read: Rolling Stone). Paz is back in Manila to persuade Zamora, who happens to be a family friend, to talk to her about the much-disputed Taobo, suspected by some skeptics of being hired actors. When Paz can’t get the story she wants out of Zamora, she heads for Mindanao, where production of ”Napalm Sunset” is in full swing.
Other principals include a Coppola-like movie director, Tony Pierce; his wife, Janet, a filmmaker documenting the production of ”Napalm Sunset”; and a local powermonger, Mayor Fritz, a Marcos nephew whose dinners — unctuous, intimidating affairs — are feared and shunned by the film’s cast and crew. Trust Hagedorn to make Fritz her Polonius, a corrupt voice speaking unwelcome truths: ”Until our people learn to take the reins and lead themselves out of this cycle of dependency, mediocrity and despair, then we are truly lost.” The circumstances in which he makes this little speech are particularly sinister.
AUTHOR: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
PUBLISHER: Plain View Press (August 8, 2008)
REVIEW PUBLISHED IN: World Literature Today, April-June 2003 v77 i1 p100 by Kathleen Flanagan
CECILIA MANGUERRA BRAINARD’S novel Magdalena takes its title from a protagonist descended from several generations of equally compelling female characters. Brainard’s earlier novel When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (1994) employed the viewpoint of an adolescent girl to recount the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II. With Magdalena Brainard uses a nonlinear narrative and multiple points of view to describe the history of the Philippines that roughly corresponds to its contact with the United States from the Spanish-American War to the war in Vietnam. Magdalena begins and ends with the perspective of Juana, daughter of the title character and her American lover (a POW in Vietnam), who is herself pregnant and curious about her family history. Letters, diaries, and narratives from numerous characters help Juana reconstruct her maternal and, to a lesser extent, paternal lineage.
Stories of the women in Magdalena’s family are woven together to demonstrate the dependency of the present on the events of the past. Magdalena’s grandfather, a Filipino nationalist who fought the American military after the Spanish-American War, writes in his journal, “There must be two Americas, one that sets the captive free and one that takes a once-captive’s new freedom away from him and picks a quarrel with him with nothing to found it on, then kills him to get his land.” Such interactions with the United States, and similar earlier experiences with Spain, emphasize the importance of power to some characters, who reject love matches for marriages with financial and social advantages. The broken romances of Magdalena’s mother and grandmothers affect their treatment of their daughters, just as the entwined histories of the United States and the Philippines throw into relief the American involvement in Vietnam in the 1960s setting of the novel.
Magdalena’s absent American lover, Nathan Spenser, is portrayed through old letters as well as through segments describing the activities of his country in the Philippines. One of his remaining letters explains the patriotic impulses that led him to enlist but also records his disillusionment with the American war in Vietnam. Spenser’s early idealism is juxtaposed with descriptions such as that of a U.S. colonel who gives a speech at a newly opened child-care center for prostitutes’ children, many of whom are half-American, and begins to see Filipinos as more than “hearts and minds” to be won in support of the effort to spread American democracy in Asia.
The novel brings into focus not only the romantic and social conflicts of different generations of women but also economic and racial divisions in the Philippines. Magdalena’s great-grandfather on her father’s side is an immigrant from China, and his daughter finds it difficult to enter the highest levels of Philippine society, just as lower economic and social standing make it difficult for Magdalena’s irascible mother, Luisa, to marry the man she loves. Interspersed throughout the novel are archival photographs of places and people, photographs that remind the reader that while the characters are fictional, the backdrop is historical reality.
TITLE: “Gun Dealers’ Daughter”
AUTHOR: Gina Apostol
PUBLISHER: W. W. Norton & Company (July 9, 2012)
REVIEW PUBLISHED IN: The Philippine Star by Juaniyo Arcellana
It took me a while to finish Gina Apostol’s Gun Dealers’ Daughter (Anvil 2010), not through any fault of the novelist, rather due to sheer intimidation with the type size, as well the bouts of attention deficit disorder that seem to rule our day to day. Apostol was here recently around the Holy Week, both to promote her double-barreled work, the aforementioned Gun Dealers’ (apostrophe rightly placed) and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata (Anvil 2009), and to take a much-needed break from the Big Apple to visit her typhoon-ravaged hometown of Tacloban.
At the book signing held at National Book Store Glorietta on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, as traffic crawled because of re-blocking along EDSA, we barely caught Gina at a table holding forth to sign our books sent courtesy of the publisher. Our former co-teacher at the UP Manila almost 30 years ago had lost most of her hair but which she was now growing back, having gone through a round of chemotherapy. By that time I was halfway through Gun Dealers and she had gamely signed and written a dedication, for the revolution and for reading.
One may recognize in the author’s third novel the old University of the Philippines Diliman, circa mid-’80s during the twilight of the dictator, and any alumnus of the state university would be familiar with the dorms, covered walks, and pavilions of the old school. Set against a backdrop of martial law in its death throes, and the tentative fledgling years thereafter, Gun Dealers takes the novel into political territory, but the protagonist can only be a personal fiction.
But just how much Soledad Soliman is a product of the writer’s imagination is always subject to speculation, more likely — as is the fashion — a composite creation, with bits of personal effects thrown in. It helps too that Soledad has a namesake contemporary and dorm mate, a combination doppelganger and guardian angel who is a sister in arms in the resistance. Add the boyfriend of the girls and son of another of the dictator’s cronies, and you have a not so merry go round of youth misguided yet at the same time lyrical and gifted.
Those versed with the national democratic struggle may have a beef with the circumstances of the conflict, that this was not how things were in the protracted fight against hegemony; then again one must not forget that this is a novel and those really were confusing times. There too are inescapable historical references and inferences, like the assassination during the early Cory Aquino years of a Jusmag official in Quezon City. This is the milieu the novelist moved in, shortly before she migrated to the United States in the ’90s.
More than anything, however, Gun Dealers is a tale of friendship, and how faithful companionship transcends and outlasts any ideology. One can read it in the lingering detailed descriptions that are Apostol’s stock in trade, the clever witty repartee between the main characters and even minor ones,
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The fine unmitigated sense of irony and delicate humor leave no doubt that the author is firmly in control. In gist this is the writer’s craft: control and irony, and the no man’s land between filled with sentences and the imagination of the damned and almost damned.
If there is a voice here in Gun Dealers trying to tell us that the revolution not only devours the innocent but that no one is safe in the fallout of our collective apathies, then we might be wise enough to heed it. No use even for spoiler alerts for a review such as this, for Gun Dealers as novel always has the capacity to surprise the reader, and we don’t mean by any twist in plot or turn of phrase.
It is a tribute to style how the first few paragraphs are repeated somewhere towards the end of the novel, when the gun dealers’ daughter arrives at Nice airport to be with an uncle during convalescence, as if things have already gone full circle before they actually come full circle, how the tricks of fiction enable it to jump ahead of itself, its own semblance of foreshadowing and repetition.
Raymundo Mata, though with copyright a year earlier than Gun Dealers, could actually be the later novel; it is certainly the more experimental one. Again the type size is formidably small, especially the voluminous footnotes at page bottom that could very well be a novel within a novel, a stylistic innovation or aberration reminiscent of Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman.
Still one can’t help applaud the levels of discourse presented by such revisionist history, though we admit being somewhat stumped by the work, feeling a bit left in the dark and deprived of a substantial portion until we obtain a magnifying glass to decipher the footnotes that could be key in understanding our perpetual state of revolution.
Trust Apostol to take the novel where it hasn’t gone before, and for this she has to thank her mentors Eric Gamalinda and John Barth, both sticklers for how art must stand on its own the farther away from home the better. The novelist herself has come a long way and there’s no turning back, or it could also be that she has come full circle without our noticing it, and this can only be for the benefit of the novel to come which might be again dedicated to a late lamented partner.
We can only wait for Sandra Dee Sinead O’Connor Gina of Tacloban and New York to out-write us all before the nameless deluge to which she will give name.