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Download and read "Neighbors" here.
Gr 9 Up—This collection of 27 short stories, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Growing Up Filipino (PALH, 2003), reflects the impact of post-9/11 wartime sensibilities among Filipino writers living in the Philippines, the United States, and Canada. Although similar topics of family, memoir, and coming-of-age thread through both collections, the pieces are not grouped by theme, but nevertheless weave a constantly shifting tapestry of Filipino identity. The challenges and conflicts of unique ancestry and struggles for identity provide a rich background for modern urban realism. The brittle memoirs reflected in "Here in the States," "Nurse Rita," and "Hammer Lounge"; original legend in "A Season of 10,000 Noses"; and breathtaking tragedy in "How My Mother Flew," among others, are compelling reading. Some selections have terse, spare language; others are almost commonplace in their apparent simplicity; all capture moments and nuances of the modern Filipino experience that will envelop readers. Brainard has again selected powerful, evocative stories of family: of promises and disappointment, failure and resentment, tenacious and all-consuming love, anxiety and transcendent hope. There is plenty here to stimulate discussion and encourage an appreciation of Filipino writing and culture. This anthology is a worthy successor to the first volume and has appeal to an audience beyond high school literature courses.—Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green