Monstress

Lysley Tenorio, Author
Lysley Tenorio. Ecco, $13 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-205956-7
Reviewed on: 10/17/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-06-205960-4
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Spanning several decades and diverse settings, Tenorio’s debut story collection is a vibrant survey of Filipino-American immigrant history. The tales are tragic, but Tenorio makes the most of his gift for black humor. “Save the I-Hotel” follows friends Vincente and Fortunado, going back to their meeting 43 years before in Manilatown, San Francisco, in the 1930s, when the law forbade Filipino men from bringing their wives to America and pursuing white women was a dangerous enterprise. At a leper colony in the Philippines, a young Filipina who spent time in America before her disease appeared begins a relationship with an infected AWOL American soldier in “The View from Culion.” Reva Gogo, a famous actress,looks back on her early days in Manila making horror movies with her struggling director, Checkers Rosario, and the trip they made to Los Angeles, where he expected to break into the big time. In “Felix Starro,” a quack doctor travels to San Francisco to perform his famous Extraction of Negativities, involving fake blood and chicken livers, while the grandson who accompanies him must decide whether to continue in the family business or take the money and run. This question—to exploit one’s own or to be exploited—is shrewdly evoked by the author’s blend of the harrowing and the absurd. (Feb.)
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