Black Lawrence Press

People Are Strange

People Are Strange

Misfits and outcasts populate People Are Strange, a collection of stories by one of the Philippines’ most enigmatic writers and winner of the Philippine Centennial Prize, the highest award ever given in Philippine history. An unforgettable panorama of surreal weirdness, People Are Strange is like Twilight Zone with an Asian, magic realist twist. In these eight stories, Gamalinda creates a stranger-than-fiction world “where normal doesn’t exist.”  There are former Manila celebrities—one a personal psychic of the Marcoses, another the “Elvis of Manila”—who must deal with anonymity and change in the U.S. There’s a woman who receives emails from her dead ex-husband, and a poet who uses his student in a publishing scam that turns them into the most notorious literary frauds of their time. There’s a man who discovers he can change his skin color at will, and becomes the object of a worldwide manhunt. In a story inspired by Kafka, a fly that infests an apartment parallels the apartment dweller’s inconsequential life. In another story, Skylab falls, and a small group of people forms a pop-up cult to stop it from hitting Manila. And finally there’s a tender story about the author’s grandfather and the strange pact he made with his two best friends—to come back from the dead and let the others know what the afterlife is all about.

Praise

  • "Not only are the tales of People Are Strange remarkable and surprising, Gamalinda’s prose breaks the heart in unexpected places. Honest, lovely, real, this book is a must, with its awe-inspiring twists."
    —Kim Chinquee
  • "'I have been able to speak to the Dalai Lama, attended a couple of meetings of the Ku Klux Klan, was singled out in a case of racial profiling in Trenton, New Jersey, and hung out with Mexican day laborers in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, where I learned how to laminate a bogus green card,' writes the fictional Eric Gamalinda, and I promise you will believe it of the real Eric Gamalinda who earned the right to title his book People Are Strange because it takes one to know one and he knows them all. Like Walt Whitman, he contains multitudes—but with a better sense of humor."
    —Barry Schwabsky
  • "In People Are Strange, Eric Gamalinda masterfully crafts stories of everyday absurdity which bring us inside the untold lives of Filipino immigrants and the strange grip of nostalgia—a concert of narrations that pair identity, loss, and solitude with humor, forgiveness, love and reverence." 
    —Susie Ibarra

Eric Gamalinda

Poet, playwright, and experimental filmmaker, Eric Gamalinda won the Philippine Centennial Literary Prize, the highest award ever given to a Filipino writer, and was recently shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. He has also 
received the Asian American Literary Award for poetry as well as several national prizes in the Philippines for poetry, fiction, non-fiction and playwriting. Born and raised in Manila, he currently lives in New York City.

Gamalinda Author page

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