A Professional Lola: And Other Stories

Red Hen. May 2024. 208p. ISBN 9781636281186. pap. $16.95. F
Southern California–based Filipino American writer Tuazon (The Cussing Cat Clock) brings to readers a collection of 13 short stories, 11 of which have been previously published in slightly different forms. The title work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2021 and is an insightful introduction for readers not familiar with Filipino communities, which are often strongly family-oriented. All of the stories, spanning across the Filipino diaspora, focus on family and interpersonal relationships in various permutations. Evoking elements of surprise, bits of humor, and feelings of emotional depth (whether stemming from a coven of spell-casting women in “Blood Magic,” the robbery of a Filipino bakery in “Second Panaderya Attack,” or the memory of a 70-year-old grandfather’s transformation from a young boy’s Lolo to being his Lola in “Carabao”), these stories are thought-provoking and deeply readable.

CORRECTION: The byline has been corrected; LJ regrets the error.

VERDICT A wonderful offering. Share this collection with those who enjoyed Megan Kamalei Kakimoto’s Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare or Anthony Veasna So’s Afterparties.
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