Father Solo and Other Stories for Adults Only by Isagani R. Cruz: A Book Review

IMG_20130130_190559I was aware of the fact that Isagani R. Cruz is a writer and columnist of The Philippine Star , one of the leading newspapers publication in the Philippines. Most of his articles are on educational system. I even tried to read his articles ; thereafter, I had the idea that the writer is so well-educated  and respected that I might find him such  a book bore ( just the  like of  me)  and cannot stand finishing his pieces. I guess I have the conception that well-educated people are too serious as if when you talk to them, you might just be given a dead pan face. But wait, as I always put, there must be a method to someone’s madness like Isagani R.  Cruz ‘s .

Father Solo and other Short Stories by Isagani R. Cruz is a big revelation to me. But first of all, take note its  front cover says that this is For Adults only while its back cover, instead of a synopsis,  reiterates  that This book is meant to be read BY ADULTS  ONLY, and The Content is inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18.  Its publisher may  have been aware of the ridiculous fact that the author himself might be excommunicated by the holier-than-thou Church , or some moralistic NGO’s might take a pot shot at him  for its malicious contents. Well, I cannot blame the publisher and the author themselves.  I wish young readers knew how to keep at bay from this.

The book  turns out to be couched in satirical insinuation despite that the book covers suggest that this must be pregnant with obscene and vulgar language.  For instance, In Father Solothe center of the theme is about masturbation, but do not focus on that because after all, the story  reflects in the  hypocrisy of  priests on their pain-in-the-asshole preach that masturbators go to the eternal fire and brimstone. However, in reality as the story puts it, they practice it likewise. Furthermore,  the story illustrates the clandestine sequence of what happens to priest involved in sex scandals. They are not far different from the “trapong” politicians.

In Once Upon a Time Some Years From Now , on the other hand, infers  what a real president should be. Without direct allusion, the character Cory Fernandez as the first female president of the Philippines could be the persona of the late Mother of Democracy, Corazon Aquino. Isagani R. Cruz must   like her. Of course, it does not do away with the highlight of fetish obscenity: the respected President uses Portable Orgasm Machine or POM. I do not have the faintest idea of what this fetish stands for in the story.

Among the other short stories , Picked is  not quite raunchy , but it  satirically  limns politicians in high government seats who  are living in their own reality  that they can use the taxes paid by Filipinos in their hedonistic hobbies , bribery, and  other under-the-table  activities to  maintain their positions.  A corrupt politician can for sure cringe at it.

Although it’s my first  book of I. R. Cruz , I  admire   his  writing style . His style is conventionally professional, but flexible with modern ideas. With his style, he can put the pigment of his imagination into a classical masterpiece just the like of this book.  And this is   what I have always wanted to imitate, but mine for sure will be a pale imitation. (laughs)

Truly, had I not read it, I would not have known that I CAN write after all.

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol : A Book Review

The perpetual question that is always asked among contestants at any beauty pageants:

“ If you were given a chance to change any part of your body, what would it be and why?”

The common answer is that they would not change anything as they are satisfied with what they have. But the immortal answer I have ever heard is by our very own Melanie Marquez-Lawyer prior to her winning the title of 1979 Ms. International because of her flaw grammar structure:

” I would not change anything because I am content with my “longlegged (sic) ”.”

For sure, you could have been knocked in the aisle , or at the very least cringed upon hearing her answer if you had been among the audience.

But I have never heard such a question yet :

“ If there is one part of your body that is so indispensable that you are ashamed of without it, what is it? “

Your answer would be_______________?

the noseThis is my first Nikolai Gogol’s masterpiece. I have heard a lot of positive feedbacks about him. So I am glad that I have made time to know him more.

Somehow I had difficulty interpreting the meaning of this said satirical novella. I could not get at the real intention of Nikolai Gogol. The concept is too quirky to understand- a man loses his nose and then becomes anthropomorphic .

Literally, without much knowledge of the Russian socio-political history, the satire could refer to the economic and political status of the officers rose through the ranks at that time . Whatever it may be, I still enjoy it because I find the story amusing. It is so funny that a man of the first rank in society is dog-determined to look for his missing nose around until he turns to the last resort that he will have his abject misery advertised in public , in exchange of a high reward. Besides, I missed reading classics which syntax is old-fashioned and archaic.

To shatter my idle curiosity, I made an effort to search the other critical analyses. To my dismay, little did I realize that in the context of Freudian dreams interpretation, nose could be phallic in nature. So, how would you associate the meaning of the dream with the latent intention of Gogol’s satire? What does a phallus stand for? It could be the desire of the protagonist to look to his laurels since in the story he does not want to get married yet, for he desires to rank higher? Otherwise, if he does not have his “nose” returned, he could be stripped of his rank? If so, well , there is nothing to say more. Enough said!

I would not go without my eyes; I could never pamper myself with the books on my list including Gogol’s.