Fiction. Asian American Studies. Filipino American Studies. "Sixteen deceptively simple stories comprise Michelle Cruz Skinner's much-anticipated follow-up to Balikbayan and Mango Seasons, many of them about Filipinos tongue-tied and alienated in the motherland, or scattered across the map of heartaches and homesickness in the company of strangers called countrymen, family, lovers. A book of quiet gems definitely worth the wait"--R. Zamora Linmark.
If you have Filipino heritage this is a must read. I also wonder if you’ll “get” this book if you do not. Without elaborate descriptions, the author is able to create vivid characters through their observations and conversations. This book is less a series of short stories and more a compilation of memory vignettes. I found myself imagining my own family and familiar acquaintances of my childhood and adolescence and even people I never met but were described to me in the stories my elders wove after family dinners on my grandparents lanai. I felt I knew the figures in an intimate way, like they belonged to me and I to them.
Cruz Skinner’s stories were energetic and entertaining. None really ended. I believe she may have left that to the reader. Just as I was engrossed in the tale it would end leaving me both wanting more but grateful for the opportunity to finish the story in my own mind and heart.
Sometimes I read to be entertained and sometimes I read to learn, to consider, to inspect, to introspect, to wonder, and to wander. This was a book that fulfilled all those elements, a book that reminds me how one can both find themselves and find out more about themselves in the pages of a book.