Bits and Snippets of the Philippines

Basic Reading of Global Filipinos

Mia Alvar’s Stories of the Filipino Diaspora

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“I wouldn’t have written a short story collection about Filipino immigrants or migrant workers if I felt like there was a surplus of these types of narratives and characters and voices across literary fiction.” –Mia Alvar

Mia Alvar lives in New York City. Her first book, In the Country, a collection of short stories of what it means to live under martial law, in poverty, away from your family. Her Filipino characters travel to Bahrain, New York, to the prison thirty minutes down the road. Their lives change with finer houses, nicer cars, medical degrees. But home is ever present, ingrained in every action they take; for, “how ‘distant’ could the blood running through your veins be?”

In the opening story of In the Country, a young pharmacist returns home to care for his ailing father, smuggling drugs to help ease the pain and discovers an alarming secret about his mother. In ‘Shadow Families’ wealthy Filipina housewives in Bahrain throw parties for the working-class Filipinos because “helping these helpers, who’d traveled even farther, felt like home.” Alvar’s ‘Esmeralda’ explores the immigrant experience during 9/11 and it is exquisite, a story so real and pure that it could break your heart.

In the Country is a joy to read. Mia Alvar’s writing is attentive, compassionate and filled with powerful sense of belonging – a splendid debut. –Al Woodworth

Mia Alvar is a former Writer-in-Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, she has received support from the Corporation of Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Blue Mountain Center for the Arts and the Sarah Lawrence Seminar for Writers. Mia’s work has been cited for distinction in The Best American Short Stories, twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in One StoryThe Missouri Review, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere.

Born in the Philippines and raised in Bahrain and the United States, she graduated from Harvard College and the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

Read more at The Boston Globe | The New York Times | Amazon.com | Miaalvar.com

Photos from miaalvar.com.

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