Readings for Filipino Literature (Realist Fiction)
For those wanting to dive into writing Filipino literature, here are some books and references that you might find useful:
1. The Origins and Rise of the Filipino Novel – Those wanting to begin the arduous task of writing a Filipino novel can look to Resil Mojares’ history from
the inception of the Filipino novel to the 1940s. It is by no means updated to recent times, but it is comprehensive enough that those wanting some background and
research on related literature that could help them can look to this reference.
2. Manila Noir – Those wanting to write a Filipino literature would soon realize that most of the stories written are realist in nature. That, of course, doesn’t mean that thrillers
like crime serials or detective stories don’t exist. A good example is Jessica Hagedorn’s anthology of short stories within the setting of Manila, but exploring the criminal aspect of it. One could find, for example, a continuation of the story of Fr. Saenz, the hero of Smaller and Smaller Circles.
3. Smaller and Smaller Circles – Speaking of which, F. H. Batacan’s work is a brilliant detective thriller in the same vein as the Hercule Poirot series, although I identify Augusto Saenz
as more of Chesterton’s Father Brown. Those looking to make good thrillers can find inspiration in this work.
4. Gun Dealer’s Daughter – And finally, for both a period piece and an action thriller, Gina Apostol’s work has that historical realism that fits seamlessly as
a thriller. Set in the Martial Law years, this is a book I recommend for those wanting to write novels that are period works in character but focusing on the action
rather than relying on its historical character.
And there you have it. For those wanting to explore writing a more fantastical work, I have another post prepared. I chose to write about realist works because Filipino literature is
more focused on the here and now. So those wanting to have some experience in writing should first explore these works, but that does not mean they should give up on non-realist fiction.
On the contrary, there have been many good non-realist fiction that have emerged in contemporary times.