at the beginning of october, i started a competition here at the blog for the best filipino horror recommendation. and while i still haven’t found three of the books from the recommendation list, i already started reading yesterday.
the first book off the pile: TALES OF ENCHANTMENT AND FANTASY.
blooey said: “Tales of Enchantment and Fantasy is a short story collection edited by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo. This isn’t purely horror, in general the theme is myths and legends depicted in contemporary fantasy, but most of the stories have the right elements for a ghost story.
Marivi Soliven Blanco’s “Mananangrrl” tells of an Oprah-type talk show hosted by a witch, with a manananggal as a guest; Andrea Peterson’s “Graveyard Shift” reveals the secret world of a call center; Butch Guerrero’s “Tidy Little Tale” depicts a slick serial killer, and so on.
They’re stories of the mundane, with a sinister twist.”
and here are my thoughts;
first off, blooey said it right when she mentioned that the book isn’t purely horror. most of the stories included in this anthology are of fantastical tales set in the philippines. the only ones i consider true horror stories from the collection are: “A TIDY LITTLE TALE,” “SOME KIND OF NOIR,” and “MARTINÉS.” these three stories are the ones that really evoke fear, that have a chance of scaring readers witless.
not to say that i didn’t like the collection, i liked a few of the stories included in the book (“THE STRANDED STAR” and “MARTINÉS” are my two favorites) and some of them were very interesting to read; but there were a few stories where i didn’t really get the whole point of why the story needs to be told at all.
i’m not attacking the book academically. i’m sure the writers and the editor knew what they were doing when they picked those stories to include in the collection. but as a non-academic reader, some of these stories are not appealing at all. like for example, i don’t really get the point of “MANANANGGRRRL.” is it supposed to scare us? make us laugh? make us sympathize? or is it supposed to be an attack on spotlight-hogging celebrities? sure, it’s well-written; but at the end of the day, is it memorable? not really, no.
“THE SUGILANON OF EPEFANIA’S HEARTBREAK” is beautifully written, but unless you have someone to talk about it with, you’re just going to say it was beautifully written and move on with your life. it doesn’t leave any impact at all.
and one of the three horror stories, “SOME KIND OF NOIR” was amazingly set-up–but takes a sudden turn that leaves you confused as to whether the author purposely meant to distract you, or if the author suddenly changed his mind midway as to what his main character really is: a good guy or a bad guy.
i’m torn about how to review this book, to be honest. still, i don’t think it’s right to harp about how wonderful a book is just because it’s filipino, and i want to promote it.
now, this is just one guy’s opinion of the book; and i am looking for a fantastically scary story, so that might have colored my reading of the stories included in TALES OF ENCHANTMENT AND FANTASY–but overall? i wasn’t really impressed with this anthology.