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May 5, 2014

Glimpses Into Life

ukaySummer season usually means hauling out a bunch of books that would make for good summer reading. Some look for stories that are good for a quick read while in transit (like waiting in train stations or at airports), while there are those who look for fast fiction that may be short yet meaty and good for contemplating the complex nuances of the human psyche.

Menchu Aquino Sarmiento’s “Ukay-Ukay: Cuentos & Diskuwentos” is the latter. Within its pages, she demonstrates her understanding of the Filipino experience, a mastery of language to form the drama of human interaction, using a sardonic undertone as she examines the lives of characters across social classes.

This latest collection of short stories and essays puts the new rich, the colegialas and internas from exclusive Catholic schools, as well as aspirational social climbers under Sarmiento’s microscope – their dramas and foibles laid bare before the reader’s eye. Yet in opening them up to the pitiless glare of the public eye, Sarmiento’s seeming indifference to their plight actually hides a concern over their lives, giving reality to the otherwise fictional sheen of her characters.

There are those who might think of satire as they read between the lines in stories such as “Marita Pangan”, “Life by the Drop”, and “To Those for Whom English is a Second Language”. One could almost swear that these were the stories found in blind items in the lifestyle and society pages of glossy magazines. Sometimes, real life can truly follow fiction.

“Ukay-Ukay: Cuentos & Diskuwentos” is released under Anvil Publishing, Inc. and is available via their online store or through popular bookstores.

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