Synopses & Reviews
“The debut of an electric literary talent. Brilliantly quirky, often moving, always gorgeously told….Bravo for this fabulous American fiction!”
—Chang-Rae Lee, New York Times
bestselling author of Native Speaker
“A wonderful story collection thats as wide and rich and complex as the geography it spans.”
— Ben Fountain, PEN/Hemingway award-winning author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevera
“Tenorio is a deep and original writer, and Monstress is simply a beautiful book.”
—Jessica Hagedorn, author of Dogeaters
A luminous collection of heartbreaking, vivid, startling, and gloriously unique stories set amongst the Filipino-American communities of California and the Philippines, Monstress heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new talent on the literary scene: Lysley Tenorio. Already the worthy recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Stegner Fellowship, Tenorio brilliantly explores the need to find connections, the melancholy of isolation, and the sometimes suffocating ties of family in tales that range from a California army base to a steamy moviehouse in Manilla, to the dangerous false glitter of Hollywood.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
introduces a bold new writer who explores the clash and meld of disparate cultures. In the National Magazine Award-nominated title story, a has-been movie director and his reluctant leading lady travel from Manila to Hollywood for one last chance at stardom, unaware of what they truly stand to lose. In "Felix Starro," a famous Filipino faith healer and his grandson conduct an illicit business in San Francisco, though each has his own plans for their earnings. And after the Beatles reject an invitation from Imelda Marcos for a Royal Command Performance, an aging bachelor attempts to defend her honor by recruiting his three nephews to attack the group at the Manila International Airport in "Help."
Lysley Tenorio reveals the lives of people on the outside looking in with rare skill, humor, and deep understanding, in stories framed by tense, fascinating dichotomies—tenderness and power, the fantastical and the realistic, the familiar and the strange. Breathtakingly original, Monstress marks the arrival of a singular new voice in American fiction.
About the Author
Lysley Tenorio's stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, Manoa, and The Best New American Voices and The Pushcart Prize anthologies. A winner of the Whiting Writer's Award and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he has received fellowships from the University of Wisconsin, Phillips Exeter Academy, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in the Philippines, he currently lives in San Francisco and is an associate professor at Saint Mary's College of California.