If you have been here for a while, then you must know about my love for fairy tales, folklore and fantasy. When I picked up Song of the Mango And Other New Myths, I was expecting a collection of fantastical, whimsical stories rooted in Filipino folklore and mythology, that would sweep me off my feet and take me to places that could only exist in my imagination.
I got all of that and so. Much. More.
At times enchanting and captivating, at times unnerving, Song of the Mango by Vida Cruz-Borja is an anthology like no other. With stories that openly and joyfully celebrate Filipino culture and heritage, Song of the Mango And Other New Myths is an epic collection of fantastical stories written with great, vivid imagery, along with elements of Filipino folklore as well as modern and contemporary themes.
Table of Contents
~ Synopsis: Song Of The Mango And Other New Myths By Vida Cruz-Borja ~
A diwata brings a grieving slave’s brother back to life as a mango tree. Two writers write their ideal lovers into existence with ink from a mangkukulam. A kapre and a farmgirl play out a tale as old as time in Spanish colonial Philippines. A girl with a magical heritage must rescue a bumbling cartographer from the hidden city of Biringan. Maria Makiling opens a pop-up cafe with human heartbreak on the menu.
In Song of the Mango and Other New Myths, Vida Cruz-Borja brings stories woven from elements of classical myths and folklore from the Philippines and other parts of the world, as well as from visions of the modern and of the future. In words richly reimagined and reinvented, these “new myths” explore hidden depths from flawed characters who strive to search for a just and equal world, whether that may be in the realm of ordinary humans or the terrain of magical creatures.
~ Song Of The Mango And Other New Myths Review ~
Though the book is definitely written with a Filipino audience in mind, it was surprisingly easy for someone like me, who have little knowledge about the culture, to dive in and immerse myself in the stories.
Each short story is diverse in its subject matter as it is in its narration style, but several of them definitely took up a special place in my heart. To Megan, With Half My Heart, Ink: A Love Story, The Museum of Incomplete Statues, Chosen Mother, A Mask For The Queen of Shards, Child Of Two Worlds, How The Jungle Got Its Spirit Guardian, and Odd and Ugly were in my opinion, the best stories in this book.
And yes I am aware I have listed what is possibly more than 70% of the book, but that’s just a testament of all the wonderful, delightful stories that you can get when you pick Song Of The Mango and Other New Myths.
Perhaps the best thing about this anthology is how with nearly every story, the author tries and experiments with different styles of narration. While reading Song Of The Mango, A Mask For Queen of Shards and Child Of Two Worlds flow, you will be enchanted with the whimsical prose of folktales.
On the other hand, The Museum of Incomplete Statues, Ink A Love Story, and To Megan, With Half My Heart, have a hauntingly dark prose that is both powerful and emotionally evocative. You cannot help but be left with a bittersweet aftertaste by the time these stories end.
And then you have the stories like First Play For And By Tikbalang Triggers Uproar on Opening Night which follows the style and format of a newspaper article from a world where mythical beings and humans seem to exist in the same plane, and yet cleverly manages to shed light on our real-world social issues.
I also want to send a special thank you to the author for listing the trigger warnings for each story at the end of the book. Such a thoughtful but strangely uncommon gesture really made me happy, as I know that there are tons of readers who have traumas of their own and may feel disturbed by certain subject matters.
I also have to give it up to the talented illustrators who quite literally brought these stories to life: Krasnoyarsk Magtira, Andie Lugtu, Jermaine Dayo, Bianca Morelos, John Kaizen, Naje, Hansel Dimapilis, Allaine B Leoncio, Isa Enriquez, Nicholas ‘Kulas’ Jalea, Mazielina C Mayo and Miguel Co.
To sum it up, Song of the Mango and Other New Myths is a brilliant masterpiece and an incredible collection of fantastical stories. If you are a fan of folklore and fantasy, I would strongly recommend this one.
~ Meet The Author: Vida Cruz-Borja ~
Vida Cruz writes fantasy and science fiction with a Filipino twist. Her work revolves around mythology, history, the environment, relationships, and emotional journeys.
Born, bred, and based in Manila, she has been a journalist, editor, curriculum designer, technical writer, and podcast coordinator.
She attended the 2014 Clarion Writers Workshop and was a 2018 Tiptree Fellow.
She shares a house with her family and five memeable dogs, loves giraffes, and the color purple.
Support The Author: Get Song Of The Mango And Other New Myths by Vida Cruz-Borja
If you enjoyed this review and you believe this book is for you, then please consider supporting the author by getting your copy of Song Of The Mango And Other New Myths by Vida Cruz-Borja from the links below! <3
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own (my opinions are not for sale anyway). Thank you so much to Vida Cruz-Borja, Ateneo Press and BookSirens for giving me a free copy of this book. <3
Do you enjoy reading anthologies? Feel free to drop your recommendations in the comments below!
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