book: the lost language

"The Lost Language: Stories" by Marianne Villanuevait’s taking me a while to finish books these days. no excuses, just an observation. i’ve been very busy with work.

and that’s why i picked THE LOST LANGUAGE: STORIES to read after Z. it’s a collection of short stories that i could read through at night, before i go to sleep. which i think, now, is a mistake.

THE LOST LANGUAGE is beautifully written. reading the words evoke this feeling of being read to by someone you know very well. in a way, it’s a person revealing their innermost thoughts to you.

and it’s not for light reading. this is why i said i may have made a mistake choosing to read this on one of my busiest week. i never had the time to actually savor the stories.

granted, had i not met miss marianne villanueva, this book is not something that would appeal to me. i’m not very big on anthologies, preferring to buy and read novels. but i am happy to have experienced this book, if only for the fact that i was exposed to these very different stories. and by that i mean very different from the usual books/stories i read.

the stories of THE LOST LANGUAGE mostly revolve around filipino characters. filipino characters in the united states are more prevalent, but there were a couple of stories that were set in the philippines; and at least one of those couple was set in a very fictional philippines.

having read this, and knowing miss villanueva a little from the discussion we had with her during the last filipino book bloggers’ meet-up, i was surprised of that fact that the anthology was full of stories about filipinos. i somehow had gotten an impression, during the meet-up, that the book contained stories written by a filipino–but not necessarily centering on filipinos.

i have nothing against stories about filipinos. this was a misconception, on my part, that i feel made me a little biased against the book.

that didn’t stop me from like some of the stories. i especially liked “alex”, even when i was getting confused as to which character we were following in the story.

ultimately, i feel i didn’t enjoy the book because it was too free-flowing. i mentioned before that reading THE LOST LANGUAGE feels like its having someone share their innermost thoughts to you. and i mean it exactly like that–that someone is sharing their thoughts without censors–and without structure. the feeling i get from reading the book is that the author had just let herself go on writing, letting it all just flow from mind to hand to pen, without ever turning back.

this is the major reason why i couldn’t connect with the book. when i talk (and even while writing, sometimes) i have a tendency to babble. and i know a lot of people who have a hard time following what i say when i babble. and that’s because it’s a free flow of dialogue, and thoughts. you don’t really know where you’re going when you babble.

and that’s one of the feeling i got while reading the book. i’m sure that was never the intention, but nevertheless that’s the path that some of the stories went to. and let me tell you, it is disconcerting reading a story narrated by george, only to find yourself reading thoughts from susan.

bottom line, i’d recommend this book–to my college professors and friends who will appreciate the profoundness found in THE LOST LANGUAGE. but i don’t think this collection of short stories is for everyone. after all, it wasn’t for me.


13 thoughts on “book: the lost language

  1. Hi, Jason. I admire your honesty, especially since, whether we care enough to admit or not, it’s utterly tempting to praise the work of an artist of you’ve been acquainted with. May I borrow this from you next we meet? I’m loath to buy it since it’s a bit steeply priced. Hehe.

    • Thank you, Aldrin!

      I know what you mean about praising the work of acquaintances. But I was schooled in the thought that we’re supposed to be honest with our thoughts–regardless if the work we’re writing/talking about is by a friend, an acquaintance, or even an enemy. That’s why I couldn’t bring myself to just praise the book.

      I still think the book was beautifully written though. Miss Villanueva has a way with words. I just wish there was more structure to the stories.

      Lastly, of course you can borrow this next time we meet. 🙂

  2. Oh, I had similar thoughts with Aldrin in terms of borrowing this book. Have you read other Filipino authors’ works? Take Illustrado for instance? How would you compare this work with that one? I want to know. And,yes, is it possible to borrow this from you? I’m open to lend my books as well. Lol 🙂 – dreamer

    • Hello!

      I have read other Filipino authors’ works, yes. But aside from Miss Villanueva’s “The Lost Language”, the only other foreign work by a Filipino I’ve read is Candy Gourlay’s “Tall Story.” I really liked that one.

      Though, I do have a copy of “Ilustrado” which I’ve yet to read. Maybe I could make a comparison when the time comes. 🙂

      [Also, I’m willing to lend books. But I have a thing where I need to get to know the person borrowing from me first. :)]

    • Hahaha, I’ll try to do that. But I have a tendency to lean towards the fantastical and supernatural, so I don’t think I’m the best person to gauge Pinoy contemporary literature.

      But I’ll try.

  3. Pingback: the lost language by marianne villanueva « ArtSeblis

  4. Pingback: book: para kay b « taking a break

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