If there will come a time that I would need to sell my books and leave only a few with me, Jose Dalisay’s Voyager and Other Fictions is definitely going to stay on my shelf and here’s why:
1. Voyager is Collection of 43 Stories That Will Make You Travel in Different Time and Places
The book contains different stories from different eras and they come in an unexpected sequence. You’ll be reading about the guerillas now and the next minute you are already into a post-Gomburza era where a Spanish Capitan is asking someone to kill an Ilustrado and the next thing you’ll know is you are reading a painful story of a couple who migrated in Australia to find greener pasture only to find themselves in a broken state or about someone losing all her money in the Casino.
The variation of stories can be from a teenager having a summer of his life, to OFWs, migrants, to freedom fighters to a mistress, and so much more. I am amazed about how knowledgeable can one be, to know a thing or two about personal lives of people from different walks of life and write about their lives comprehensively as if he experienced them all.
2. Jose Dalisay’s Vocabulary is as Vast as the Ocean
I have read several English novels and short story collections written by Filipino writers and so far Dalisay has the most impressive vocabulary. There are Pinoy terms that are difficult to translate that sometimes other authors write in Italic (to highlight that it’s a Tagalog word) followed by an explanation but he has a term for almost everything and I am really surprised. I didn’t even know that there are exact translations for those words until I came across Dalisay’s terms.
3. It’s Like Reading About the Philippine Culture Through a Foreigner’s Eyes
I love to read historical fiction usually post WW2 stories because I find it easier to digest history and culture though stories rather than reading hard facts. Somehow while reading this book, I feel like a foreigner reading a book about another country’s history and culture.
One factor is Dalisay’s vast vocabulary. He didn’t need to use Tagalog terms and this gave me a totally different feeling from when I read books written by other Filipino authors.
Another thing is that even though I know that I’m reading about our own culture, I still don’t know what to expect sometimes. There is always an element of surprise. The stories are kind of relatable but actually not that relatable. (Gosh, this is even harder to explain).
Anyway, this book is worth reading and getting into international book stores, if it isn’t yet.