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Manila Noir

(Akashic noir)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  751 ratings  ·  79 reviews

"While certain cities in past Akashic volumes might appear to lack an obvious noir element, Manila (like Mexico City, which shares many of the same problems) practically defines it, as shown by the 14 selections in this excellent anthology. As Hagedorn points out in her insightful introduction, Manila is a city burdened with a violent and painful past, with a long heritage
Paperback, 237 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Akashic Books (first published January 2013)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  751 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Emir Never
"Noir" means crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings. Why did Akashic Books choose Manila as a milieu for crime stories? I wondered. So, I checked the The List of Cities by Murder Rate and Manila is not even in the Top 50 so it must be the hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings that made Akashic include us in their Noir series. Let's see...

My practice when I am enjoying an anthology of short stories is to jot down my thoughts right afte
I won Manila Noir from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer series. I was particularly wanting this book because a) I'm a big fan of the editor, Jessica Hagedorn and b) I've enjoyed some of the other "_____ Noir" series of Akashic books. I have already read and enjoyed (inconsistent quality not withstanding) Bronx Noir, Long Island Noir, and Brooklyn Noir-yes, I live in the area [the Bronx]). I love noir as a genre and I love reading place-centered stories. I have never been to the Philippines but know ...more
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
“I like to think of Manila as a woman of mystery, the ultimate femme fatale, sexy, complicated,
and tainted by a dark and painful past. She’s not to be trusted.” – Jessica Hagedorn

Manila – I guess the selection of the focal place for the anthology suits it best. Manila, no matter how lively it appears has its dark side, too.

Manila Noir has the right amount of crime, violence and sinister enough to bring life to Manila’s dark facade. An anthology of 14 short stories by different Filipino authors,
Maria Ella
Perfect for the Buwan ng Wika. Perfect feel of the pause, being at standstill, only hearing the hums of the feet, the buses, trains and of speeding life - escaping from the harsh realities of it.

What a goodread.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5. The overall feel is definitely noir, gritty and realistic, definitely in a good way, but some of the stories don't feel as genuine. They're still quite good, don't get me wrong, but it kind of lacks a certain familiarity. Maybe because the authors have not spent as much time in Manila as the others, given that a whole bunch of them don't actually live in Metro Manila anymore, but who knows. Some stories stand out, and, again, while the others don't seem to be familiar about Manila's peculia ...more
My thoughts on this book here.

Sam Sattler
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Manila Noir is my fourth experience with the intriguing noir short story series published by Akashic Books (following Boston Noir, Mexico City Noir, and Long Island Noir), a series now numbering something like fifty-six titles. Much like the first three collections I read, Manila Noir is a bit of a mixed bag. When it is good it is very, very good. The good news is that when it is "bad," the stories only sink to the level of mediocrity, not to awfulness.

The fourteen stories in the collection were
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I rated each story and the average came up to 2.5, and I am rounding it down to 2.

I thought I'd try this genre but it's not just for me. Too dark, too cynical, too noir for my taste.

Some of the stories I liked: Aviary; The Professor's Wife; Norma From Norman; Comforter of the Afflicted - to this one I gave 5 perfect stars.

These are the ones I totally went "bleh!!!" - After Midnight; Cariño Brutal; Trese; Darling, You Can Count On Me; and the story I least liked: The Unintended. The author has g
Ivy Catherine
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a nice collection of stories from various Filipino authors. Manila Noir showcases both the supernatural and the darkest side of the Philippines. If you like Stephen King's short stories, you'll definitely love this one too.
Gena Myrtle

1. Darling, You Can Count on Me
2. Trese: Thirteen Stations
3. Aviary
4. Norma from Norman
5. After Midnight
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Simply no place like Manila, as the song goes. I love this collection of stories.
JC Tolentino
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
My cravings for noir were satisfied. More thoughts soon.


Also posted in It's A Wonderful Bookworld.

Until I learned about this book, which was sometime early last year, I wasn’t aware that what I love reading – what had actually got me hooked to reading – may be aptly called noir. French for “black”, noir in fiction would refer to those stories which are bleak and dark, often about crime, with sinister and cynical characters. Perfectly my cup of tea.

I grew up in a place located severa
Ian Cruz
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Metro Manila is a city that never sleeps. She (as Hagedorn fondly calls this city) is a parent to millions of Filipinos striving to survive their daily ordeals. By day, she is productive at keeping her children at bay and ever-watching them pursue their daily professions, whether it be a "tambay sa kalye", a balut vendor or a senator of the government. By night, she is a witness to other outrageous acts that would seem to be beyond comprehension done by many of her sons and daughters. Hence, it ...more
May 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
There were two ways in which this book disappointed me: first, in being a book about Manila, and second, in being noir. Setting seems largely inconsequential in a lot of these stories, often taking a backseat to other aspects of narration. This is forgivable of course, however, when the title itself advertises a city, one would expect that space and place would be much more prominent than it is here. The differentiation between the different cities in the stories just isn't pronounced enough to ...more
Nikka Calindas
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really don't like sad or graphic endings, after all, the real life is already full of those. It is too much to ask of anybody to enjoy those kind of endings creeping up on your fiction too. Of course, of those stories, 'Manila Noir' is an exception.

True to its nature, 'Manila Noir' tells gripping, horrific tales set on the dark streets of Metro Manila. From simple vandalism of a posh mall in Makati down to the Catholic gay butcher, each story holds you and takes you unwillingly on a macabre ri
Christopher Jed
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh yes, something dark and gritty! I'm no cynic but I just like to read something sinister and graphic and sexy haha every now and then. Something that would disturb and creep me out and would make me think twice about something. Also, it's an anthology so its a plus one. Sometimes I put down a novel when its suddenly became tedious for me. Short stories are, well, short and more straightforward. Each story fascinates and surprises me. Sana they would publish another Manila Noir, sana haha
Geoff Hill
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dark, disturbing, unreal, and realistic at the same time.

Gritty and Noir in the extreme, which is perfectly set in Manila, a place of extremes and contrasts.

Sometimes depressing, a little patchy in quality, but overall a great page turner.

Oh, and a little treat in the middle, a TRESE graphic story - a sampler of the classic supernatural Filipino series, full of urban ghosts, vampires, aswangs and gods.

I will be looking for more by some of these authors.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wasn't surprised that I liked the stories of the authors who I was already familiar with. The surprising thing is how much I liked the stories of the authors I didn't know. It took me a while to finish this because some stories didn't relate all that much to me. But this is still a great anthology and a breather from the usual genres I read.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Book #1 for 2014: Of course I liked the Trese story, Comforter of the Afflicted by Batacan (the Jesuit / investigator rocks)A Human Right by Cruz-Lucero, and Satan Has Already Bought U by de Veyra. Gritty.
Aj Garchitorena
So far, Manila Noir is waking my muse up, urging me to write again. I will, eventually, give the fifth star after I read the whole book. Everything noir is good, mysterious, and unhappy... which in turn, makes me, somewhat, satisfied to be enclosed in his noir envelope.
Jul 29, 2015 added it
Shelves: crime

"While certain cities in past Akashic volumes might appear to lack an obvious noir element, Manila (like Mexico City, which shares many of the same problems) practically defines it, as shown by the 14 selections in this excellent anthology. As Hagedorn points out in her insightful introduction, Manila is a city burdened with a violent and painful past, with a long heritage of foreign occupation. The specters of WWII (during which the city suffered from U.S. saturation bombing), and the oppressi

ACTUAL RATING: 3.5/5 stars

BOOK COVER/DESIGN: 3/5. I feel neutral over the book cover.

GENERAL REVIEW/THOUGHTS: Wow, this took me long enough to read. I suppose life and obligations and personal issues can get in the way like that. This was actually lent to me by J during the time we would almost resort to staring at the walls to pass the time, and... Not that this is relevant.

This is actually the first fictional work I've read after almost four years (since I focused purely on Philosophy); what
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories were awesome. it captures Manila so well from the atmosphere, to the people, to the state it is in. I adore this collection has it is something close to me and I can relate to the feeling of the characters and the culture it had.

4.25 out of 5 dead bodies.
Cez Prieto
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love the collection of short stories in this book. I'm ao amazed with our Filipino writers and artist and I'm hoping to read more from Filipino writers.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: so-so, oh-kay
There were a few standouts but most of the stories were forgettable. The book delivered on transporting you to Manila through the lenses of the noir genre which I think was the point of the book. Maybe, it was just not my cup of tea.
Ena Jarales
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The words 'Manila' and 'Noir' go so well together. I was skimming through the list of Noir anthologies at the front of the book and as I did, I couldn't help but think that the title of the book I was holding sounded so much better than the other titles in the series. "Manila Noir" rolls off the tongue so easily: Manila as I know it, without the quotation marks, has a very raw, very gritty, very tantalizing appeal to it -- and so the charm it holds cannot be anything but noir, black.

The stories
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Maybe i'm biased but yes, i have to be. need to be. want to be.
I'm in the search for quality pinoy stories in a way.
And this doesn't disappoint.
It has its boring downs, but good ups that are worth the wait as you read it one by one.


1. Norma from Norman - this tops them all. ends it all. a true pinoy noir. it lures you, like you, wanting to know your fate. then it strips in front of you, piece by piece, revealing. but never trying to shock you. because you will be the one to do that to
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crime fiction - well I never thought Filipinos were fond of such literary genre. Manila Noir, like the one's before it from the Noir Series brought to us by Akashic Books, is a compilation of fictional short stories set in a certain place. Where in this case, the capital city of Philippines, Manila.

"She mostly wears red. And sometimes black. I like to think of Manila as a woman of mystery, ultimate femme fatale."

Now any book that has a compelling line like that in its introduction is enough to
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Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn was born (and raised) in Manila, Philippines in 1949. With her background, a Scots-Irish-French-Filipino mother and a Filipino-Spanish father with one Chinese ancestor, Hagedorn adds a unique perspective to Asian American performance and literature. Her mixed media style often incorporates song, poetry, images, and spoken dialogue.

Moving to San Francisco in 1963, Hagedorn

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