Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking at War and the Filipino

People in the War and Wilderness of Sweets by Gilda Cordero Fernando are stories set during World War II, but they are a far cry from the conventional war tale, which would emphasize scenes of battles, acts of heroism or cowardice and political choices.

These stories are about being at war, but they are not about fighting in it. They are about surviving in it.

Unlike the conventional war stories, People in the War and Wilderness of Sweets do not have anything to do with the combatants. There are no characters who are soldiers. The Japanese have but shadowy presence until the last part of the story, when they become simply nameless, insane butchers. The Americans do not even make an appearance. The political reasons for the war are never mentioned. The focus is on the travails of the civilian population.

The fact that the narrator is an adolescentmakes this plausible, enables the writer to concentrate on the story she wishes to tell.

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