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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

entry arrow10:49 AM | Two New Books

Two new books from two fast-emerging Filipino writers to hit American publishing...



Poet and fictionist Marisa de los Santos' Belong to Me, a follow-up to her bestselling first novel Love Walked In (which Sarah Jessica Parker optioned), is currently #20 in the New York Times Bestseller List, probably a first for a Filipino writer. About the book from the HarperCollins website:

Everyone has secrets. Some we keep to protect ourselves, others we keep to protect those we love.

A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised no one more than herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to leave urban life behind and head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she and her beloved husband, Teo, have made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships in her new home. Cornelia's mettle is quickly tested by judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt. Perfectly manicured, impeccably dressed, and possessing impossible standards, Piper is the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she would find in suburbia. A saving grace soon appears in the form of Lake. Over a shared love of literature and old movies, Cornelia develops an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman who has also recently arrived in town, ostensibly to send her perceptive and brilliant son, Dev, to a school for the gifted.

Marisa de los Santos's literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between these three women. She deftly explores the life-altering roller coaster of emotions Piper faces as she cares for two households, her own and that of her cancer-stricken best friend, Elizabeth. Skillfully, de los Santos creates an enigmatic and beguiling character in Lake, who draws Cornelia closer even as she harbors a shocking secret. And from the first page until the exhilarating conclusion, de los Santos engages readers with Cornelia, who, while trying to adapt to her new surroundings, must remain true to herself. As their individual stories unfold, the women become entangled in a web of trust, betrayal, love, and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined, and that ultimately teaches them what it means for one human being to belong to another.

Buy the book from Amazon here. Marisa is currently profiled in The Philadelphia Inquirer (link via Pine for Pine). Read an early work by her in Nerve.com.




Palanca Hall-of-Famer Luisa Igloria's Juan Luna’ s Revolver is winner of the 2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry. About the book from the University of Notre Dame Press website:

The poems in Juan Luna’ s Revolver both address history and attempt to transcend it through their exploration of the complexity of diaspora. Attending to the legacy of colonial and postcolonial encounters, Luisa A. Igloria has crafted poems that create links of sympathetic human understanding, even as they revisit difficult histories and pose necessary questions about place, power, displacement, nostalgia, beauty, and human resilience in conditions of alienation and duress.

Igloria traces journeys made by Filipinos in the global diaspora that began since the encounter with European and American colonial power. Her poems allude to historical figures such as the Filipino painter Juan Luna and the novelist and national hero José Rizal, as well as the eleven hundred indigenous Filipinos brought to serve as live exhibits in the 1904 Missouri World’s Fair. The image of the revolver fired by Juan Luna reverberates throughout the collection, raising to high relief how separation and exile have shaped concepts of identity, nationality, and possibility.

Suffused with gorgeous imagery and nuanced emotion, Igloria’s poetry achieves an intimacy fostered by gem-like phrases set within a politically-charged context speaking both to the personal and the collective.

Buy the book from Amazon here. Cervena Barva Press profiles Luisa here. Read another profile by The Sword Review here.

Who says Filipino writers are not world-class?

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