PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora

PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora
Short Stories

EILEEN R. TABIOS

ISBN-13: 978-1-7323025-4-9
LOC No.: 2020930702
Pages: 104
Release Date: March 16, 2020
Distributors: Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon.com, among others
Price: $16 (special price thru September 1 on Amazon and other online retailers); $11.20 (through the end of March, if ordered directly from publisher or author)

ANTI-COVID-19 INITIATIVE


Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Eileen R. Tabios’ short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora. Normally priced at $18.00, this short story collection is now available for order for $16 through Amazon.

Alternatively, if you wish a signed copy, you also can order one for $11.20 through March 31 direct from the author; contact Eileen Tabios at Galateaten@gmail.com. If you order two or more copies from the author, shipping will be free within the U.S.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION

“Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, while not overtly addressing this radical torture of cuisine, relate to what lurks within the stew created by a dictator’s actions. The aftermath is not always obvious like the imprisoned, the tortured, or the salvaged (murdered); the aftermath goes deep to affect even future generations in a diaspora facilitated by corruption, incompetence, and venality.

Eileen R. Tabios wrote “protest stories” from 1995-2001 against Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law in the Philippines, including “Tapey” which was read for Hawai’i Public Radio. These stories, except for a 2019 story written as a coda, form her new short story collection, PAGPAG. As indicated by its subtitle The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora, the collection presents stories from the points of view of children brought out of the Philippines by their parents (or other adults) in response to the Marcos dictatorship—children who grew up watching and listening to adults remember the homeland they left behind and who, as adults, can more fully articulate the effect of their histories.

ADVANCE WORDS

“Pagpag” is a Tagalog word I used growing up to dust off a pillow or a blanket. Now it is used to refer to garbage food scavenged, recooked and resold to poor people. In her short story collection, Eileen Tabios uses both contexts to bridge her personal history with Martial Law and add texture to our already failed historical memory. These stories matter to us more than ever, as many Filipinos struggle under the tight grip of another populist, and as many more have forgotten that we have seen this before, and time is eating its own tail. Tabios begins her poignant collection with a “mamau” (ghost) and reminds us the historical past is not a ghost but a reality we carry with us if we can only see it as such.
Bino A. Realuyo, author of The Umbrella Country and The Gods We Worship Live Next Door

Pagpag is a provocation, connoting both debris and creative refashioning of memory fragments from the Marcos dictatorship—a legacy that, in the words of Philippine nationalist historian Renato Constantino, remains ruefully “a continuing past,” especially in today’s Duterteland. Here, the remains of the regime, like rescued reminiscences of an era preferred forgotten but not lost are gathered anew in a compelling telling, this time from the lens of a diasporic exile. In this volume, Eileen Tabios captures in scintillating prose the sights, smells, sounds, and ghostly hauntings of that era and offers back to the homeland, as in the gift of a proverbial balikbayan box, her reflections both heartfelt and wrenching.”
S. Lily Mendoza, Executive Director, Center for Babaylan Studies, Associate Professor in Culture and Communication, Oakland University, and author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities

In these stories Eileen Tabios explores the ways in which the collective experience of Filipinos echoes through generations, following us even if—or when—we drift worlds away from the archipelago. What is the legacy of government cruelty and greed, of poverty, struggle, unwanted uprooting? In the first story (“Negros”), the abject hunger of an ancestor reaches through time to shape the mind and body of a young boy. In the last story (“On Imitating a Rhinoceros”), a daughter watches helplessly as her old father clings to a wavering belief that leaving his homeland was the right thing to do. I recognize myself and my family in these pieces; I am seen and heard. Moving and necessary, this collection invites the reader to grapple with truths in all their difficult, complex beauty.
Veronica Montes, author of Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories and The Conquered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting

In this collection of short fiction, author Eileen Tabios contemplates the terrible distances (emotional as well as physical) imposed on Philippine citizens by the country’s colonial governments and postcolonial dictators, abetted by global capitalism. In protest, the central metaphor of Pagpag, “scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempt to clean and re-cook for new meals,” speaks to various forms of hunger as well as desire for transformation. Brilliantly weaving comedy, satire and elegy, the stories echo tricksterish folk tales, but with a contemporary, introspective edge. Don’t be fooled by seemingly nostalgic peeks into the Philippines’ archipelagic culture: this book cuts deep into long-held illusions, exposing painful truth.
Jean Vengua, author of Prau and CORPOREAL, and editor of Local Nomad

Available Samples Online:
An abbreviated version of “My City of Baguio” is at Positively Filipino, Jan. 22, 2020. An earlier version of the same story is at Otoliths, 2006.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eileen R. Tabios has released about 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries and cyberspace. PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora is her third fiction collection. She also recently finished her first long-form novel, DoveLion. Her wide-ranging body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form (whose 15-year anniversary in 2018 was celebrated in the U.S. with exhibitions, a new anthology, and readings at the San Francisco and St. Helena Public Libraries) as well as a first poetry book, Beyond Life Sentences, which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into ten languages, she has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com


Maileen Hamto reviews PAGPAG

From THE HALO-HALO REVIEW: It’s an unfortunate and ugly reality that many people in the homeland are so destitute, so poor, that they make a necessary living out of garbage. The practice of “pagpag” involves going through mountains of trash to salvage food and anything else than can be saved to be resold, reused, orContinue reading “Maileen Hamto reviews PAGPAG”

“PAGPAG” Book Launch

In the Dictator’s Aftermath: Conversation and Book Launch for PAGPAG by Eileen R. Tabios “Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’sContinue reading ““PAGPAG” Book Launch”

Barnard’s Millie’s List recommends Eileen Tabios’ PAGPAG

Barnard College’s “Millie’s List” recommends Eileen Tabios’ new short story collection, PAGPAG! “Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, whileContinue reading “Barnard’s Millie’s List recommends Eileen Tabios’ PAGPAG”

The Good Mother of Marseille

THE GOOD MOTHER OF MARSEILLE
Christopher X. Shade

Read the opening chapter here.

ISBN 978-1-7323025-2-5
Release Date: April 9, 2019
Pages: 174
Price: $18.00
Order the book.

Paloma Press is delighted to announce the release of one of Big Other’s “Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2019”!

Book Synopsis

In Christopher X. Shade’s The Good Mother of Marseille, it’s the summer of 2013, in the year of Marseille’s designation as the European Capital of Culture. Readers get a taste of this dangerous, impoverished yet seductive port city of France as they follow the interwoven stories of Americans who have come to wander and sightsee. Noémie, an anthropology student, wants to make the gritty graffiti-covered neighborhood of Cours Julien her home, but she’s running out of time, money, and her university sponsor’s patience.

Noémie watches over Corey, from New Jersey, who is an earlier version of her: also an anthropology student, he’s just getting started. But what he wants is very different. He searches the Marseille streets for what he needs from someone to love. In the old port, the wife of a small-town Alabama couple presses to see all the sights while her husband is losing his vision to an eye disease. Noémie intersects with everyone—has she stolen their passports? A Colorado man with late-stage cancer and fear of the unexpected falls in love with a French woman he meets at a café on the old port. In Marseille and then in Paris, a woman helps her journalist husband figure out what is happening in his head as he experiences a peculiar stress disorder. Hovering on the fringe are the Marseillais, the shopkeepers, artists, café waiters. Who among them will save Noémie?

To the rhythm of European street life, each American puts a Marseille experience in the context of their own histories. It’s a love letter to the turbulence of Marseille, and to the turbulence to be found under the surface of each of us, the pounding hearts and jarring fears.

Praise for The Good Mother of Marseille

“A veritable bouillabaisse of a novel, simmering with intrigue and steaming with surprises.” —Lorea Canales, author of Becoming Marta and Los Perros

“A remarkable work of imagination, a debut novel that not only introduces us to a gifted writer of fiction, but offers a beguiling glimpse into the zeitgeist of a generation’s appetite for the exotic and the mysterious. In the Hemingway tradition, its many linked stories gel into one compelling story of Americans abroad. Shade’s sensitivity toward his characters is infectious, and, quite frankly, unforgettable.” —Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author most recently of Luxury and The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse

“Marseille with its hot dangerous streets, its bars, and beautiful churches becomes a character in this fresh and original novel by Christopher X. Shade. Here we glimpse anew intriguing and moving facets of human nature so skillfully and believably portrayed.” —Sheila Kohler, author of 13 books, most recently a memoir, Once We Were Sisters

“Well-developed characters, finding themselves in a landscape that is both beautiful and troubling, come to Marseille in search of many things—a chance to prove themselves, an adventure, a last hurrah. But what they find within is deeply more meaningful and surprising.” —Chantel Acevedo, author of The Distant Marvels and The Living Infinite

The Good Mother of Marseille is a beautiful and memorable debut, a melancholy tale of both lost and found, a love letter to the night-lights of France, a movable feast for this 21st century.” —Scott Cheshire, author of High as the Horses’ Bridles

“No single viewpoint can take in a city like Marseille, marked up by too many cultures to count. So Christopher X. Shade provides us with a kaleidoscope, quite ingenious, in which shapes and colors young and old, native and foreign, exotic and run of the mill, tumble across one another. I dare you to look away.” —John Domini, author of MOVIEOLA!

The Good Mother of Marseille is a luminous, taut, utterly absorbing first novel. Part American expat novel à la The Sun Also Rises, the cast of characters also includes American tourists and French natives parallel playing out their dreams and sorrows on the stage of this gritty French port city. Shade is a compassionate observer of the human dilemma, his feel for place commanding, his story first-rate. I read it in one gulp.” —Lesley Dormen, author of The Best Place to Be

The Good Mother of Marseille by Christopher X. Shade is a painfully beautiful novel, infused with peril and propelled by suspense. In powerful prose, Shade renders a complex mosaic of a city’s underbelly. These interlocking portraits of characters on the edge, barely hanging on, are filled with struggle—people who feel very real, confronting loss, doubtful futures, and their own existential fears.” —Clifford Garstang, author of What the Zhang Boys Know and In an Uncharted Country

“Using Marseille, France, as his canvas, Shade paints a cast of characters who, by their human interactions, invite the reader to repeatedly ask: Is it choice or fate that “leads us to the places we don’t expect to be?” If you want to delve into what it means to be human, when so many are facing loneliness and loss, then The Good Mother of Marseille is your invitation.” —Elena Georgiou, The Immigrant’s Refrigerator and Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants

“Shade has quite the gift for moving seamlessly between characters and voices, together creating a remarkable chorus.” —Sameer Pandya, author of The Blind Writer

The Good Mother of Marseille feels more like the work of a seasoned writer than that of a debut novelist. Christopher X. Shade gives us characters of such depth, stories of such sensitivity, and a portrait of Americans abroad—in that historical moment just before 2016—that is ruthless in its honesty. International in scope, intimate in detail, The Good Mother of Marseille pursues the question: where do you go when home no longer is home?” —Joseph Salvatore, author of To Assume a Pleasing Shape

“How to build a city? Shade’s Marseille is haunted by visitors and voyeurs, and is held in place by the tension between immersion and flight. In arresting, beautifully surprising prose, Shade reveals the city in precise detail, while also demonstrating the essential elusiveness and risks of storytelling itself. This is a powerful and original novel.” —Aurelie Sheehan, author of Once Into the Night and Demigods on Speedway

“Breaking the illusions of a romantic Marseille, Shade paints this port city from the inside out, bringing to surface the truth found behind dark allies. The Good Mother of Marseille weaves a cast of characters who contemplate what it means to dream while having to bear witness to recurring nightmares. Arranged in a mosaic of episodes, these characters are broken, tormented, searching for a fading moral compass. The question that motivates them, that drives this intricate and riveting display of craft and language, is always: What does it take, what does it mean to stay alive?” —Mario Alberto Zambrano, author of Lotería

About the Author
Christopher X. Shade is co-founder and co-editor of Cagibi, at cagibilit.com, a journal of poetry and prose. His stories and book reviews have appeared widely, and he has won story awards including the 2016 Writers at Work fellowship competition. He teaches fiction and poetry writing at The Writers Studio. Raised in the South, he now lives with his wife in New York City.

For tour dates and book celebrations, email editor@palomapress.net or please contact the author directly.

*A portion of our proceeds in April will be donated to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in observance of Prevention Against Cruelty to Animals Month.


TGMoM’s lost chapter

Christopher X. Shade, author of The Good Mother of Marseille, writes: I teach poetry and fiction at The Writers Studio, where we use models and techniques to help writers discover a unique voice and style for their material. One of my favorite models to teach is Annette Sanford’s “Nobody Listens When I Talk,” a shortContinue reading “TGMoM’s lost chapter”

The Bryant Park Reading Room

Phenomenal debut author Christopher X. Shade will be featured in the original Bryant Park event, “Best-Selling Authors in Bryant Park,” on August 21, 12:30pm. All events are free and open to the public. Books are available for purchase at the event from Kinokuniya USA and for signing by the authors. RSVP here. More information aboutContinue reading “The Bryant Park Reading Room”

INTERLOCUTOR interviews Christopher X. Shade

New York-based writer Christopher X. Shade recently published his debut novel The Good Mother of Marseille. In this interview, he discusses what drew him to Marseille as a setting, the literary influences for the book, and the challenges of writing a multi-character narrative. Read the interview here.

A Tale of Two Books!

Mark your calendars for FRIDAY JULY 19 at the Astoria Bookshop in Queens, and SATURDAY JULY 20 at Powerhouse in Brooklyn! Christopher X. Shade will be appearing in conversation with John Domini. Salman Rushdie on THE COLOR INSIDE A MELON BY JOHN DOMINI: “John Domini enters the world of African immigrants in Naples living onContinue reading “A Tale of Two Books!”