HAWAII'S ONLY WEEKLY FILIPINO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER
SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
MAY 6, 2017
BOOK REVIEW

Penguin Classics Release Nick Joaquin Collection

by Rose CHURMA

Celebrating the centennial of Nick Joaquin’s birth in May 2017, Penguin Classics recently released the first ever U.S. publication of his seminal work.

Joaquin is widely considered one of the greatest Filipino writers, but he has remained little-known outside the Philippines, despite the fact that he wrote in English.  His work dissects

the Filipino’s new freedom after a long history of colonialism. These literary pieces explore folklore, ancient Catholic rites and magical realism.

This collection features his best known story, “The Woman Who Had Two Navels,” centered on Filipino emigrants living in Hong Kong—which was later expanded into a novel.  Also included in this collection are the classics “May Day Eve” and “The Summer Solstice,” as well as the play A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino (whose film version was screened at the Filipino Film Festival at the Doris Duke Theater of the Honolulu Museum of Art last year).

American Book Award-winning author Jessica Hagedorn describes his works as “..akin to Garcia Marquez in the extravagant, surreal imagery of his stories, the fatalistic humor, and the intricate weaving of history and memory…”

Singer and actress Lea Salonga notes, "Nick Joaquin was such a presence in my childhood.  I remember having a collection of Joaquin’s stories for children in my personal library.  They were large beautiful volumes that provided commentary to our culture in language so engaging for a child to understand.  He has been a beloved storyteller for the Philippines for generations and now his memorable stories and play will be made available around the world.

For Hawai`i’s readers, the book will be available at the Honolulu Book and Music Festival to be held May 6 & 7 at the civic grounds surrounding Honolulu Hale (look for Reiyukai America’s booth near the main stage).  For inquiries regarding Nick Joaquin’s other published works, please email kalamansibooks@gmail.com.

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