The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic by Nick Joaquin

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Joaquin was an essential voice in Filipino culture until his death in 2004, and this volume reminds us, as the historian Vicente L. Rafael states in his introduction, “of the need to endure the sense of loss amid the ruins upon ruins that remain.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

Celebrating the centennial of his birth, the first-ever U.S. publication of Philippine writer Nick Joaquin’s seminal works, with a foreword by PEN/Open Book Award–winner Gina Apostol
 
Nick Joaquin is widely considered one of the greatest Filipino writers, but he has remained little-known outside his home country despite writing in English. Set amid the ruins of Manila devastated by World War II, his stories are steeped in the post-colonial anguish and hopes of his era and resonate with the ironic perspectives on colonial history of Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. His work meditates on the questions and challenges of the Filipino individual’s new freedom after a long history of colonialism, exploring folklore, centuries-old Catholic rites, the Spanish colonial past, magical realism, and baroque splendor and excess. This collection features his best-known story, “The Woman Who Had Two Navels,” centered on Philippine emigrants living in Hong Kong and later expanded into a novel, the much-anthologized stories “May Day Eve” and “The Summer Solstice” and a canonic play, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. As Penguin Classics previously launched his countryman Jose Rizal to a wide audience, now Joaquin will find new readers with the first American collection of his work.
 
Introduction and Suggestions for Further Reading by Vicente L. Rafael
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
 

About Nick Joaquin

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Nick Joaquin is widely considered the most important Filipino writer in English. He was born in Manila in 1917 and received a scholarship to study at a Dominican monastery in Hong Kong. Upon his return, he took a job at the Philippines Free Press, beginning a long and successful career as a writer. A novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, journalist, and biographer, he was honored for his work as a National Artist of the Philippines. His works include the novel, The Woman Who Had Two Navels, a play, A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino, three collections of short fiction, two volumes of poetry, and numerous works of nonfiction. He died in 2004.Gina Apostol won the Philippine National Book Award for her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata. Her third novel, The Gun Dealers’ Daughter, was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize and won the PEN/Open Book Award. She lives in New York City and western Massachusetts.Vicente L. Rafael a professor of history at the University of Washington, specializing in southeast Asian history. His most recent publication is Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation.
Author Residence: NYC/Western MA (Apostol), Seattle (Rafael)
Author Hometown: Manila (Joaquin), Tacloban (Apostol)
 
Published April 18, 2017 by Penguin Classics. 476 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Mar 07 2017

Their survival may depend on selling their father’s final work of art, a painting of Aeneas carrying his father, Anchises, from the ruins of Troy. The drama is rich in themes but rather dreary and heavy-handed.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Genevieve Valentine on Apr 19 2017

Though Joaquin is ubiquitous in the Philippines, this is his first collection of stories in the United States, and the perfect starting point to get to know his particular brand of melancholy. The Woman Who Had Two Navels is a transporting read...

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Melissa Chadburn on Sep 01 2017

Joaquin was an essential voice in Filipino culture until his death in 2004, and this volume reminds us, as the historian Vicente L. Rafael states in his introduction, “of the need to endure the sense of loss amid the ruins upon ruins that remain.”

Read Full Review of The Woman Who Had Two Navels ... | See more reviews from NY Times

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