My Notes on "Trash" - A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology


Mrs. Chandra's War Against the Dust
The scene setting is same, yet every time, the outcome is different. On each of the act, the story develops. I sympathized with Mrs. Chandra who was the main character. I like how the story was shown and not told, which a short story needs to be. Their actions made me curious on what's going to happen next. The use of the slang words was flawless too!

Trash Talk
This one's brilliantly written. The voice was clear and smooth. The story, heart warming. I also experienced the complexity of my emotions, thinking what I was doing was the right thing. The story was relatable. The protagonist decided to stop talking one day, and I hoped for a revelation in the end. I read the surface of the character in the beginning, and slowly it revealed itself to me, which I think made me connect better.

Hunger Houses
I didn't get to connect well with this story even if it's written by a Filipino. There's a fantasy and "political" element into it. However, the flow of words was disturbing. The author used terms such as "may-ari, the owners," but as a Filipino reading this repetitively, which meant the same thing, distracts me from the story.

Baby's Breath
A marriage life story using "you" as the protagonist. I like the story and the flow as it feels like reading a short, fast-paced novel.

Beautiful words yet somehow I got lost. Sentences were too long. The message of the story was not very clear. Is it about showing poverty, that all of us are equals (dust to dust)? I don't get the relevance of the story about the crush?

And the Heaven's Your Canopy
A futuristic story which I found amusing. It has three main characters, the protagonist who spoke seriously, the funny old man and Dr. Munwar with an as-a-matter-of-fact voice. The end was saddening. The format and flow of the story are superb.

The story describes what a drug user feel. The flow of the story moved from 1 character focus to another. I don't get why the women act pathetic, while men sounded macho. They all live in lies. Being set in Indonesia, it is interestingly an eye opener.

For Your Merry Days are Over
Structure wise, there is this one scene at present, yet they kept on coming back to scenes in the past explaining how they ended up with the current scene. I am familiar with the "jejenes", which is probably why I enjoyed it. It is a crime short story which sends a message about friendship and solidarity.

How to Make White People Happy
This is a story of an Indonesian man who thrived, got an education and traveled abroad despite being left with his Mother in the streets as a child. The story was a nice read with a good lesson to learn, but as a part of an anthology, I think the readers would expect something more?

There were a lot of conversation that even if the story was a fantasy, they sounded realistic, believable and convincing.

This is definitely something fresh. It explained the history of Teodoro and the Philippines in an unusual way. It felt like traveling in a time machine as I read it, as it rewinded what happened, back to the very beginning.

Flowers for KK
This is surprisingly good. It introduced to me a woman who didn't have a choice but to follow tradition, which later on compromised herself and her feelings. The character found redemption in the end which was a relief. The story is moving and one of my favorite in this anthology.

It uses a fresh way to write a story - in a way of blogging and a narrator speaking in between. It reminds the reader in me the risk of being a journalist whether you announce news on a live audience or write as an anonymous posting news online. This is a page turner.

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