Anvil Publishing Inc. in cooperation with the Center for International PEN will launch Ukay-Ukay: Cuentos & Diskwentos, a collection of essays and short stories by multi-awarded fictionist and essayist, Menchu Aquino-Sarmiento.
University of the Philippines-Institute of Creative Writing director Jose Dalisay Jr. describes Sarmiento as one of the finest fiction writers in the Philippines. “The best testimonial I can offer on her behalf is that I teach one of her stories in my class in contemporary Philippine literature, alongside the very best of our writers,” he shares.
In 12 essays and stories, Sarmiento tackles lives of different characters: a henpecked husband, a debutante experiencing her first seduction, a daddy’s girl turns to drugs for comfort, a class misfit being bullied by the “in” crowd, and many more.
For his part, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera says, “Sarmiento’s tone coupled with her sophisticated handling of irony gives her stories an air of cultivated indifference that masks a deep concern with human behavior. Such concern accounts for her exceptional skill in bringing to life her characters.”
An excerpt from the story “Que Lastima!”:
Manolet Alba and the popular plastic surgeon Dr. Sergio came outside to watch Michelle and her friends playing with the jet ski. Dr. Sergio had done Cheloy and most of the other ladies there, so they all had the same sculpted, tip-tilted noses with sharply etched nostrils. He winked at Philip and declared, “I see you have HIV-AIDS.”
“Hair Is Vanishing. Anit Is Definitely Showing.” Dr. Sergio laughed raucously at his very Filipino joke, then frowned as the jet ski sputtered and the water from its drain arced erratically. “Hey, look at that kid—mahina . . . Bata pa, baldado na! He’s so young and his urine stream is not even erect.”
The book will soon be available at all National Book Store and Powerbooks branches nationwide.