Gilda Cordero-Fernando was a multiawarded writer, publisher and cultural icon from the Philippines. She was born in Manila, has a B.A. from St. Theresa’s College-Manila, and an M.A. from the Ateneo de Manila University.
She had a very rich life as a publisher. In 1978 she launched GCF Books, which published landmark books on Philippine cultural history: Streets of Manila (1977), Turn of the Century (1978), Philippine Ancestral Houses (1980), Being Filipino (1981), The History of the Burgis (1987), Folk Architecture (1989), and The Soul Book (1991).
Cordero-Fernando also wore numerous other hats as a visual artist, fashion designer, playwright, art curator, and producer. In February 2000, she produced Luna: An Aswang Romance. In 2001 she produced Pinoy Pop Culture, the book and the show, for Bench.
In 1994, she received a Cultural Center of the Philippines (Gawad CCP) for her lifetime achievements in literature and publishing.
"Now I knew at last what it felt like to be in love: like a bruised pomelo, like a drowned cat, like a lost button, like a mop."
My professor in Literature dubbed A Wilderness of Sweets as her favorite story of all time. The story in its entirety is amazing (although it is quite long for a short story); however, I sort of rushed through the last few pages since I was almost late for my class. That's why, I'm planning to re-read the last chapter so my feelings about this will be cleared. But so far, I like this because it's different with what our professor has asked us to read thus far (well, aside from the fact that this isn't rated SPG). The narration is beautiful and lyrical, the words flowery but not too much. I like the protagonist, Joy, because I see myself in her. The story started off as a blooming romance between her and Badel, but even the love here isn't typical. This will manage to elicit painful emotions without being angst-y. Furthermore, the descriptions of the gore towards the end were too graphic and detailed that I found myself shuddering involuntarily.
"Oh, Joy, you do slay me - you should be happy in a hole in the ground, up a tree, or in a cave, anywhere in the world with me."
As of July 23, 2013: All right, so I re-read this like I said I would, and I was quite amazed. I have already finished Gilda Cordero-Fernando's other story about the Japanese occupation, People in the War, and I can't decide which I like better. Both touched my heart and broke it. Both are stunningly written. Both had the same feel all throughout the beautiful narration. For some reasons, aside from the gore and grotesque graphics of what transpired in the war, the other thing that affected me so much was the relationship of Badel and Joy. I quickly liked him at the beginning. But something about him and his personality, plus Joy's narrations and her feelings...I could really feel the pain. It was as if I were her myself, and it was heartbreaking. They both loved each other and yet, it just wouldn't work out. I was finally able to concentrate on reading the last chapter, and goodness gracious...it was so disturbing and sad the way People in the War made me feel. Overall this is greatly recommended. It offers a different perspective of the war, and although a work of fiction, it is highly realistic and it matched the details found in history books.