Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Laurel Flores Fantuazzo, Author of MY HEART UNDERWATER


Thank you Laurel Flores Fantauzzo (author of MY HEART UNDERWATER pub Quill Tree Books) for acknowledging me and my novel). I'm glad my work helped you.

"When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (University of Michigan Press, 1999)
One day my lola made a sharp zipping sound with her lips and tongue, and sliced her pointer finger down. I realized she was evoking bombs lacerating the air. The sounds of Japanese and American destruction in the Philippines were still so vivid in her mind, decades later in California. These were historical memories I had never seen depicted in fiction, until Manguerra Brainard’s 1994 novel. Nine-year-old Yvonne Macaraig lives in a happy family in Cebu, until the invasion by Japanese forces during World War Two. Her father is an engineer who suffers from a brutal capture, and Yvonne witnesses the unspeakable losses her neighbors endure. Throughout the 1941 to 1943 years of occupation, Yvonne is buoyed by reminders of supernatural Philippine beings and powers. Laydan, a domestic worker essential to the family, cooks their meals, and shares oral histories of folklore and survival, helping her to thrive.
My mom handed me the book when I was a year older than the narrator. When the Rainbow Goddess Wept was a first lesson of the humanity and rescue inherent in stories. The narrator in my own YA novel is traumatized in more subtle ways, but as Yvonne’s relationships carried her, so too is my narrator restored by family and friendships. Brainard first taught me how to depict a young Pinay, and gave me the courage to add another to readers’ shelves.

ilia Brainard
Tags: Philippines literature, Philippines novel, Philippines fiction

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