Showing posts from March, 2015

Harvests reaped and hungers unsated

"You are going to die," I told him. "But I will die decently," he said, pausing. "Isn't that what we should live for?"  His question had a quality of coldness, of challenge. Reading the first book, PO-ON, of the Rosales series last year by prolific Filipino writer and living legend F. Sionil Jose was a gruellingly reflective experience that awoken a dormant passion of the nationalistic sense within me that I never thought I ever had to begin with. I would go as far as to say that this should have been a required reading in schools all across my country, and it baffles me now that it's wasn't. Simply put, this series is an extraordinary piece of work that needs to be celebrated and read every day because of its relevant commentary in the Philippine society as a whole, using no other than the means of fiction to deliver across some of the most crucial and moving points regarding the state of our post-colonial country.

The Rosales saga is comprised …

True terror lies in what we cannot always know

"Even death may die.."
American author H.P Lovecraft is such a prominent and prolific horror writer that a subgenre of horror was even named after him. Lovecraftian horror involves "the cosmic horror of the unknown and the unknowable more than gore or other elements of shock". With this mind, I was quite excited to read this anthology which collected his finest eighteen short stories throughout the years. This paperback edition I own even includes a great introductory essay to the life and times of Lovecraft, as well as explanatory notes that serve as expansions of ideas taken from his stories; a glossary that also offers more insights to his writing process, influence and conceptualization. Frankly, I think The Call of Cthulu and Other Weird Stories is a fascinating though difficult read.

I have my reservations both in reviewing and recommending this anthology. I don't believe this is exactly something anyone can just enjoy and appreciate. In fact, upon closer i…

A certain evanescent and unknowable scent

"...people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they could not escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath. Together with breath it entered human beings, who could not defend themselves against it, not if they wanted to live. And scent entered into their very core, went directly into their hearts, and decided for good and all between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men." ~p. 155There are two scents that I can remember rather sharply as long as I close my eyes and focus on them. The first one is the cigarette smell of my father's breath every time he kisses me as a child. It was probably the very reason I started smoking in the first place when I was only twelve years old because it was a scent that I associated with love and affection at that time. Even though he quit the habit when I was fourteen, I will always think of cigarette …

A survivor must always have something to live for

"In Mexico, there are these fish that have colonized the freshwater caves along Sierra del Abra. They were lost. They found themselves living in complete darkness. But they didn’t die. Instead, they thrived. They adapted. They lost their pigmentation, their sight, eventually even their eyes. With survival, they became hideous. I’ve rarely thought about what I once was. But I wonder if a ray of light were to make it into the cave, would I be able to see it? Or feel it? Would I gravitate to its warmth? And if I did, would I become less hideous?"

~Reddington, The Blacklist
When I was fourteen years old, my father bought me a shabby copy of a paperback from a book sale written by an author named Harlan Coben. It's entitled Just One Look and it was about a housewife who discovers a weird photograph among her family pictures just after she had the film developed. She showed it to her husband who started acting strange until he just disappeared one night. What reeled me in wasn&#…