Saturday, March 16, 2019

Spotting F. Sionil Jose and Mavis Gallant

I finally saw F. Sionil Jose, the Filipino novelist, in his bookstore, Solidaridad, along Padre Faura Street, a stone's throw away from PGH. He was handing out books that had just been delivered to his assistants (I saw When Breath Becomes Air), telling them to which section they should be displayed.

F. Sionil Jose

I got Mavis Gallant's Overhead in a Balloon for Php 250!

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Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor at the New Yorker, wrote this about her:

Gallant was sometimes unforgiving, but also compassionate toward the characters she inhabited. I came to her as a reader years before I had any idea that I might one day know her. For a young woman, reading secondhand copies of the collections “From the Fifteenth District” and “Home Truths” was a revelation. Gallant’s characters were so interior one had the sense that they were almost trapped inside their own minds, peering outward through two circles of light. The degree of self-knowledge was painful, the understanding of the moods and motivations of others astonishing, but the moments of real connection heartbreakingly rare. There was isolation, and then there was the acceptance of isolation.

She is a "writer's writer."

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