These twelve short stories are memorable to me because they are, in a sense, so much a part of my personal experience. Writers write from their lives—this is axiomatic, not so much because their lives are ignited by adventure and romance. What they do is embroider, enlarge what is fairly trivial and common into something bright—even fanciful—with the magic of words.
Francisco Sionil José was born in 1924 in Pangasinan province and attended the public school in his hometown. He attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II and in 1949, started his career in writing. Since then, his fiction has been published internationally and translated into several languages including his native Ilokano. He has been involved with the international cultural organizations, notably International P.E.N., the world association of poets, playwrights, essayists and novelists whose Philippine Center he founded in 1958.
F. Sionil José, the Philippines' most widely translated author, is known best for his epic work, the Rosales saga - five novels encompassing a hundred years of Philippine history - a vivid documentary of Filipino life.
In 1980, Sionil José received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.
In 2001, Sionil José was named National Artist for Literature.
In 2004, Sionil José received the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award.
It's not right that I don't get to read one of the Philippines' best. This collection was based mostly on FSJ's experiences yet it is still apt during today's times. I loved how each short story was open ended, you give the conclusion. I thought my vocabulary was passable, but there are words here I had to look up still! If this is how good the shorties are, imagine a full novel. Now I'm ready!
FSJ. Fellow high-schooler fan of The Necklace and The Gift of the Magi, self-confessed emulator of de Maupassant and O. Henry. I adore FSJ's essays, thoroughly enjoy most of his short stories, and admire the historical research, effort, and soul searching that goes into his novels. A serendipity-driven foraging expedition into Mt. Cloud Bookshop led me to this book, a collection of short historical fiction with bittersweet endings. Spurred on, as the author candidly admits, by snippets of true events. But--(insert spoiler alert) I would hate for that last story to be too true!