When I review a book from a new-to-me author, I deliberately try to shield myself from any outside opinion or assumptions about his or her writing - I hate when my expectations ruin what could otherwise be a great read. Stepping into Monstress
by Lysley Tenorio, I only knew that it was a collection from a Filipino author. I was thrilled to find a wide range of viewpoints and experiences and a steady stream of incredibly vivid characters who share a need for love, acceptance, and understanding.
The settings for these stories range from a Philippine leper colony in the 1950s to an army camp in California to Hollywood. We meet the Beatles, B-movie makers, teenage superheroes, and transsexuals. Each protagonist is painfully vulnerable and utterly recognizable in the mirror. Some of Tenorio's stories are fictional accounts of real events - such as the time the Beatles...
Beyond the Book
Lysley Tenorio (pronounced LESS-lee ten-OH-rio) is the winner of several awards, including the Whiting Writers' Award, the Nelson Algren Award, and a Pushcart Prize - and fellowships from Phillip Exeter Academy, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the University of Wisconsin, and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. He earned his MFA at the University of Oregon, and received a National Endowment for the Arts in 2006. His stories have appeared in The Best New American Voices
, Zoetrope: All-Story
and The Atlantic
. Born in the Philippines, Tenorio moved to the US as an infant. He...