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Monstress : stories by Lysley Tenorio
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Monstress : stories (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Lysley Tenorio

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644186,178 (3.53)3
Member:marietherese
Title:Monstress : stories
Authors:Lysley Tenorio
Info:New York : Ecco, c2012.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:American literature, Asian-American literature, contemporary literature, short stories, collection, Q4 12

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Monstress: Stories by Lysley Tenorio (2012)

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Montress is an invigorating and intrepid compilation of several short stories filled to the brim with heartfelt, anticipation, philosophical, unexpected surprise that will leave the reader reaching deep into their souls to question if they too are not living life to the fullest and what their sense of being might truly be...

Read full review at http://www.musingwithcrayolakym.com/book-reviews.html
Come visit me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MusingwithCrayolakym ( )
  crayolakym | Apr 13, 2013 |
Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress holds a remarkably strong collection of stories. Focusing on a varied group of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, he effectively balances the strange, heartbreaking, and humorous in ways that keep readers engaged throughout the book.

I have an ambiguous relationship with short stories; on the one hand, I echo the common refrain of many readers who bemoan how short stories are so limited in length that I never feel as if I can sink my teeth into the story and be invested in what’s happening. On the other hand, I’ll periodically pick up a short story collection to while away a train ride, always hopeful that whatever collection I have will be better than the ones before. With Monstress, I've finally found stories that resonated with me.

The collection was notable in its variety. We meet up with a whole host of people and get to immerse ourselves in different places and time periods. The breadth that Tenorio demonstrates is impressive—it was a pleasure to dip into each world. We have the B-movie actress and her film creator boyfriend who venture from the Philippines to Hollywood in the title story; denizens of a leper colony; a faith healer and his grandson who perform their “Holy Blessed Extraction of Negativities” with...chicken gizzards; a boy who copes with being a misfit by assuming a superhero persona; a Manila airport worker who plans to beat up the Beatles after they insult his idol, the notorious Imelda Marcos; and a man who grieves for his dead brother and the distance that ate away at the family when the brother became a transsexual woman.

These are characters who are at the margins of society. They’re the outsiders looking in on the world as it passes by; some are resigned to this, some try to fit in, and others fight to blaze their own trails. Tenorio is able to evoke a sense of tenderness and empathy for all of these vulnerable characters. There’s a kind of longing that runs throughout each story that makes the stories feel coherent and substantial, instead of just fleeting blips of entertainment.

Even as the stories capture specific moments in time, Tenorio still manages to make them encompass whole lives lived—hopes dashed, plans hatched and foiled, the small and big hurts that people inflict and suffer through. He builds a rich enough world that I never felt as if something was missing that prevented me from connecting with them. Readers don't feel as if we've parachuted randomly into a story and are held at arms-length throughout, which is how I often feel when reading short stories in general. The fact that Monstress not only kept me engaged while the book was open but also made a mark on me after the book closed is a rather remarkable feat.
( )
  Samchan | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 3 of 3
“. . . that the author takes this niche subject and makes from it a tale with universal appeal is proof that Lysley Tenorio is a major new literary talent. . . . While there is room for growth for future tales and future volumes, Monstress packs enough literary heat to excite even the most winter ravaged among us. It is highly recommended.”

 
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This heartrending, funny and utterly original collection of stories, exploring the clash and meld of American and Filipino culture, centers around the sometimes suffocating ties of family, the melancholy of isolation and the need to find connections.

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