"People of Latin descent often deny their Afro-roots. Yet, generation after generation, these racial tensions persist. In 1988, Julia Alvarez wrote an essay titled, “A White Woman of Color.” In it she described the hierarchy that existed within her family where beauty was the main currency that descended from light to dark. No doubt these issues are bound to the legacy of Spanish colonization and may be found throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Philippines. These themes compel the reader, not just to read the book, but to tease out and ponder its difficult questions. Where do these race and color rules come from and how do they survive? How do contemporary women navigate racial boundaries? Can they truly transcend them by acquiring wealth? How is the hybridity of Dominican identity continuing to change?"
"Dreaming a new self signifies the embodied practice of memory and narrative. To Love as Aswang is the “howl” of “flesh memory”—a siren song that lures us to look deep within to recover the narratives that have been erased or buried alive. Those who are haunted by the past, or ancestral trauma, narrate re-constructed histories, and re-consider sound as a tool, method, or strategy for healing. By re-examining (cultural) biases and signifiers of identity, we can begin to re-write ancestral memory and forge a path of non-duality. Through narratives and sound as a form of agency and empowerment, the traumatized body is allowed to re-shape and re-imagine the experience; the silent traumatized voice can be re-voiced."
"Migration, movement, displacement. These are but a few themes Amanda Ngoho Reavey touches in the mosaic that is Marilyn. A compendium of poems, experimental prose, and legal documents, Marilyn will unsettle you with its rawness, pull you in with its simple yet evocative language, and pique you with questions about kinship, selfhood, and the journey toward decolonization. The various genres colliding, meshing, and singing to one another mimic the severing yet entangling that comes with diaspora, with the shifts between space, place, and name. Marilyn is a narrative of loss, rebirth, and the growth that comes with pain, a door opening a conversation to Philippine transnational adoption."
— MARIA T. VALLARTA
Then there is the title story, “Mayor of the Roses,” which is a Balikbayan woman’s perspective of a brutal gang rape of a local young beauty queen and the double murder of the beauty queen and her boyfriend, perpetrated by the mayor of a small Philippine town, and his men. The perspective of the Balikbayan woman is important here, in the way she understands the thorough corruption of a system of which she is no longer a part but a spectator, which not only allows this kind of brutality as sport, but also rewards its perpetrators. The role of the speaker is as witness to the crazy Philippine media spectacle of the trial. She is so distanced or removed that even outrage is almost abstract to her.
— BARBARA JANE REYES
If Filipinas/os could ‘talk back’ to history, that is, if Filipinas/os learning their history became appalled at what they were learning, what would they say about what they see? What mistreatment and slow heartbreak would they witness by doing research, visiting museums in the Midwest, looking at exhibits through glass, and finding some semblance of themselves in library archives?
— JANICE SAPIGAO
"When I finished the book, my body shook without volition, and a swell came from the belly to the throat: it was as if the lolas’ stories entered my body."
— MELISSA R. SIPIN
"There are two paths of energy and perception in Mg Roberts’ debut collection, not so, sea. One is the linkage between units of sound, or a filmstrip. The second is spinal."
— JAI ARUN RAVINE