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The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker: A Collection of Short Stories

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This is the first collection of short stories by Filipino author Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Dowdy and glamor-starved housewives, the money-mad circle that barely senses the need for social justice, children anxious for love and security--these provide the material for the fable and vision which fiction demands of its makers.

196 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1962

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About the author

Gilda Cordero-Fernando

34 books40 followers
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 started off as a writer and was awarded the Palanca Award for Literature several times. She also wrote and illustrated children’s books.Her short stories are collected in The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker (1962) and A Wilderness of Sweets (1973).

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.

(from wikipedia.org.)

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5 stars
26 (40%)
4 stars
18 (28%)
3 stars
7 (10%)
2 stars
5 (7%)
1 star
8 (12%)
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
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330 reviews101 followers
March 8, 2015
...every woman was beautiful, it was a simple matter of recognizing one's personality and complementing it with a dress that had shimmer, substance and smash.

You expect to be the quintessence of perfection and perfection doesn't exist, you know that?

[The four-stars I gave is an average of my individual ratings of the stories.]

High Fashion ★★★☆☆
The Race Up to Heaven ★★★☆☆
The Level of Each Day's Need ★★★☆☆
People in the War ★★★★★
A Fear of Heights ★★☆☆☆
Hunger ★★★★★
Sunburn ★★★☆☆
Magnanimity ★★★☆☆
A Love Story ★★★★☆
A Harvest of Humble Folk ★★★★☆
Hothouse ★★★☆☆
The Visitation of the Gods ★★★★★
The Eye of a Needle ★★★★★
Everyone wants to be what he isn't. It's the way of the world.

Ahh, the writing of Gilda Cordero-Fernando. She truly will always be one of my favorite Filipina writers. The way she manipulates the English language simply leaves me breathless, the sentences weaved expertly with her magical hand. Just take a look at this excerpt!

To compliment your naked beauty, I must have silk of a most fantastic shade that plays on the undiscovered tones of in-between reds and greens and yellows. It must have the translucent amber of centuries-old Amontillado, the ephemeral glitter of green in the wingtips of dragonflies, the elusive wisp of gray on the sulphurous smoke of a dying volcano.

Goodness gracious. Isn't it just so beautiful?

Probably one of the things I really admire in her is the power of her descriptions, the scenes she were describing would emerge realistically from the pages because of her vivid words. However, this could also be the downfall of her texts sometimes, as it rendered them sometimes quite difficult to comprehend. You really have to take in every word.

The amazing thing I got when I was reading this anthology is that there was always something faintly familiar with the stories, like I heard them before, like I experienced them before. There would always be this unmistakable sense of nostalgia. And I suppose it's because her books speak too much of the Filipino culture and experience, so that whenever you read you'd feel right at home.

The stories in here really varied. Some had tinges of a fairy tale, some seemed like a parable, and some appeared like a scenario pulled out from our day-to-day experience. Personally, I prefer the ones written in first-person because it enabled me to truly be able to connect to the narrator. (My favorite story here would probably be People in the War , which is something I've already read beforehand.)

However, I also encountered a few problems while I was reading (though this could just be rooting from personal taste). I found the other stories quite confusing and a little difficult to take in, especially since some of them seemed to have a much deeper meaning that I couldn't quite point out. Moreover, I was thoroughly lost sometimes. In Hothouse , for instance, I found myself asking, "What in the world just happened?" because of the transition, or the lack of it, in this case. But then again, all of these things I experienced could probably be attributed to my own fault as an inadequate reader. None of these deters me from reading more of her works, of course. I'm in fact even more excited to read her other writings. Definitely recommended. (Who knows, you might even appreciate this a lot more than I do.)
1 review
October 8, 2013
i want to read this book
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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