Know Your Nominees: Novel in English

Not sure who to vote for in the Novels in English category of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards? Or you’re simply curious about the nominated books? Here’s some information and reviews about the books. We hope this helps you vote, and pick up some of the nominees to read for yourself. :)

Don’t forget: you can show your support for your favorite books among the nominees of the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards  — just drop by this ballot and submit! The top 3 books per category will proceed to the next round. Voting period is until July 31.

≈≈≈

News of the Shaman by Karl De MesaNews of the Shaman by Karl de Mesa
(2010, Visprint)

“News of the Shaman” collects four novellas of the dark fantastic from Filipino horror scribe Karl R. De Mesa, author of the cult hit “Damaged People – Tales of the Gothic-Punk.”

These interlaced stories take us deep into the lightless labyrinth, from the feet of a vampire queen presiding over her court of eternal night, a band possessed and haunted by the music of their friend, to a city ruled by a shaman turned eco-terrorist.

Biblio-ghouls, you won’t want to miss this one.

Reviews:

  • “Unlike the regular horror story, De Mesa’s novellas defy easy categorization. What sets them apart from the usual neo-goth/new weird stories is their inherent Filipino sensibility. Discussing Filipino Paganism and old belief systems…the novellas posit a different approach to resuscitating the old Filipino myths and the belief systems of our ancestors before Christianity seeped through every inch of our culture.” – Philippine Online Chronicles

≈≈≈

Super Panalo Sounds! By Lourd de VeyraSuper Panalo Sounds! by Lourd de Veyra
(2011, UST Publishing House)

Superpanalo Sounds! first novel by award-winning writer Lourd de Veyra, who is also main man for the rock band Radioactive Sago. This book takes us on the rough-and-tumble journey of the greatest band you never heard, a story of drugs, rock and roll, and the depths of the human soul. We witness both the exhilaration and the ravages wrought by the rock scene. Tracing Pinoy rock history, while creating its own alternative mythos, where rock gods walk on water, bands record mythical albums and then vanish from the scene, and kids from Projects 2-3 can change the world with music, Superpanalo Sounds! is a mind-opening, mind-altering cautionary tale of how high and how low you can go when you’re rocking and rolling.

Reviews:

  • “Superpanalo Sounds! is written with refreshing verve, humor, and imagination.” – Emir (Goodreads)
  • “…overall, the novel is a blast. Here, Lourd De Veyra gave us a delicious treat, one that my tongue will never cease to taste.” – eggs cease tense

≈≈≈

Naermyth by Karen FranciscoNaermyth by Karen Francisco
(2010, Visprint)

never were they myth in the first place…

The world ended. It was not because of a comet, prophecy, natural disaster or whatever garbage foretold on the internet, but because every myth ever written turned out to be an account of historical fact. These monsters we’ve read about as children waged a war that lead to the human race’s downfall. And the unlucky who survived are hunted down or, worse, tortured.

In these dark times, people could only turn to the Shepherd for help. I am one such Shepherd and I thought my only task was to protect the few humans who still thrived on this desolate world. But when I rescued Dorian from Dwende captivity, I discovered that not only is he the most dangerous thing to have around, but he could be our one hope for redemption. I now find myself protecting a born killer, but in doing so, I’m turning my back on everything human.

Reviews:

  • “This book is a fulfillment of what some friends and I were wishing for a few months back: a fantasy novel written by a Filipino that makes use of the plethora of creatures from our own mythology.” – One More Page
  • “the story itself is solid enough. it has the elements of action, adventure and romance all set in a future world where one of these things is a rarity. it’s also a well-plotted book, as things that were mentioned in passing at the first part of the book, plays a more important role as the book nears it closing chapters.” – taking a break

≈≈≈

Ilustrado by Miguel SyjucoIlustrado by Miguel Syjuco
(2010, Anvil)

It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River—taken from the world is the controversial lion of Philippine literature. Gone, too, is the only manuscript of his final book, a work meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the crimes of the Filipino ruling families. Miguel, his student and only remaining friend, sets out for Manila to investigate.

To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, piecing together Salvador’s story through his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The result is a rich and dramatic family saga of four generations, tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor, and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress.

Reviews:

  • “Reading Ilustrado is a celebration of all things Filipino.” – Dark Chest of Wonders
  • “Ilustrado challenges the traditional views of Filipino literary craft (and even the so-called Filipino literati) as it indulges in a variety of genres and techniques to probe the relationship between fiction and reality.  Its richly descriptive prose has a touch of self-deprecating humor that entertains the reader from start to end, and the gritty slice-of-life observations of Philippine society are articulate, insightful, and amusing.” – Bookmarked!

≈≈≈

Tall Story by Candy GourlayTall Story by Candy Gourlay
(2010, Cacho Publishing House)

Andi hasn’t seen her brother for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He’s tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL. But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.

Reviews:

  • Tall Story is a poignant, heartwarming story of clashing cultures, of family and sibling love, with just the right amount of magic, tears and laughter.” – Philippine Online Chronicles
  • Tall Story is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about friendship and family and how certain bonds can transcend the physical distance. As cheesy as this sounds, I really think this book shows how people can be involved in each other’s lives even if they are continents apart.” – Chachic’s Book Nook