26 Jan Bookbed reviews: ‘Fast Food Fiction Delivery’ edited by Noelle Q. De Jesus and Mooki Katigbak-Lacuesta
BY KB MENIADO
I have a confession to make: The first time I found Fast Food Fiction: Short Stories to Go at a library years ago, I thought it was a collection of stories set in fast food chains. Please don’t judge me (even if I judged the title).
Later, when I read it, I found it to be made up of, as it says on the title, short stories… written by Filipino writers. A world’s difference from the English novels I usually read, here were stories that ended even before they really began.
First released in 2003, the FFF anthology caters to all types of stories and writing styles. The 2014 version, Fast Food Fiction Delivery, is no different, if not better. Edited by Noelle Q. De Jesus and Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, it contains 68 Filipino stories circling on themes of deceit, hope, loss and passion, among others. Like food delivery, its bite-sized stories can please and disgust!
WHAT I LIKED
First few stories in and, to quote Ms. De Jesus, wham bam bulaga! Here are a couple of my favorite ones:
Cold by Lilledeshan Bose—a 442-word story about longing for a dead boy
“Of course, I think about Andy a lot, and not just because I am alone, lonesome and lonely.”
Jhose by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon—a 465-word story about a man wanting to change his name
“Thank Christ I went to Yale, where they thought it was just the Tagalog spelling and not, you know, anything to be embarrassed about.”
Adultery by Susan Evangelista—a 395-word story about a mother finding out bad news through her two inquisitive children
“That’s what they’re doing. Coveting.”
Polo by Astrid Fontanilla—One of the exceptions to the rule with a 503-word count, this story says it all with its lead:
“When Erning learned that his entire monthly salary of PHP5,619 was just the price of one of his boss’s shirts, he decided to buy one.”
Shouldn’t It Be Funny? by Marc Gaba—a 489-word story about a couple who doesn’t know what to do with the elephant they recently bought
“’I wouldn’t ever get an elephant,’ said the friend I asked. ‘I mean, why on earth?’
‘But if you had one, what would you do?’
‘I suppose I’d… I’d set it free.’”
A Thesis Proposal by Ramon C. Sunico—a 452-word story about a Fine Arts student proposing his undergraduate thesis topic
“No, Ma’am, I don’t despise any of you, but I thought this was a Fine Arts course, a course where you learn to make things, not to learn how to write like, well, Foucault or Derrida or those people.”
While the stories are rightfully the main entrée, let me just show you what the editors have to say:
Ah, can any book ever be free from typographical errors?
Also, I’m not sure if it’s intentional to have the stories laid out in random but I would have enjoyed FFFD better if I sensed any flow or thematic order.
An anthology of stories about Filipinos, written by Filipinos for Filipinos. Forget your diet and gobble this one up. ☁