Tonight: Bourdain Does the Philippines!

Check it out, dear blog readers.  He made waves when he landed on Philippine shores late last year.  And self knows now, having just returned from Manila, a little more than two weeks ago, that his fan base over there is huge.

As for self, she’s been a fan ever since she read a somewhat stomach-churning essay by him in The New Yorker, years ago.  Then she read his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, and she liked him even more:  for his utter lack of pretentiousness, for the unconventional route he took (no culinary academy for our boy!) to chef-dom, and for his disarming candor.  There’s one anecdote in the book about the time he was working in a Provincetown restaurant, and a bridal party came in . . . (But, once again, I digress)

Tonight on the Travel Channel, 10 p.m. EST, the “Philippines episode” of No Reservations.

Stay tuned.

Spotlight: AGAINST THE SHORE, The Best of the Pacific Rim Review of Books

This anthology arrived in the mail last month, when self was in the Philippines.  Trevor Carolan writes in the Preface:

The Pacific Rim Review of Books was founded by Canadian publisher Richard Olafson in the spring of 2005.  Published three times a year from Victoria, British Columbia —  Canada’s Pacific Rim gateway to Asia and Latin America —  its literary horizon from the outset has remained both national and international.

*   *   *

Operating on a shoe-string budget we have now managed to publish the work of more than 125 authors from throughout North America and from 15 countries internationally.  Among them have been veteran and younger writers, and we have been privileged to feature the work of internationally distinguished writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gary Snyder, Josef Skvorecky, Alvaro Mutis, Red Pine, Rex Weyler of Greenpeace, and Michael Platzer of the United Nations.

Here’s a sampling of articles from Against the Shore‘s Table of Contents :

  • “Alberto Mutis in Canada” by Jim Christy
  • “Memories of U Thant” by Michael Platzer
  • “South Korea Report” by Gary Snyder
  • “Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero” by Linda Rogers
  • “Tangier Renegade:  Paul Bowles in 1965,” an interview of Paul Bowles by Ira Cohen
  • “Taos Mountain” by Bill Yake
  • “Chilly Buddha Hall” by Richard Wirick
  • “Depth Psychology East & West:  The Dalai Lama at MIT” by Patrick Carolan

Self began reading the first essay, on Alberto Mutis, this morning.  She learns that Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called him “the second best writer in the world,” (!!!) but that, unlike Marquez, “Mutis was not caught up in the flood of Magical Realism that deposited so many Latin American writers, willy-nilly, on American and Canadian shores.”  This resistance was no small thing for, as Christy writes, “Just to exist anywhere in those countries, in Mexico or Brazil, in Colombia or Panama is to experience the meaning of Magic Realism.  As a friend of mine recently wrote on a postcard:

We left Bogota after shootings at the school.  On the way out of town I saw a dozen yellow chickens roosting in a tree with orange blossoms.  An obese mulatta was asleep in a hammock.

And yet, Mutis runs counter to this trend, he “insists he is not a magical realist.”

And here’s something else that interests self:  Christy quotes Mutis as saying,  “I never earned my living from writing . . .  I scribbled my poems in hotel rooms before meetings or at night while having a drink at the bar.”

Ah, a writer after self’s own heart.

What earned self her two copies was her interview of Linh Dinh (“The Personal Becomes Political”), published last year in the Pacific Rim Review of Books and included in this volume.  How proud she is to be in such company.

Self prays, prays that Pacific Rim Review of Books will survive the recession.  As she prays for Calyx.  For the Women’s Review of Books.  And for all the scores of literary journals whose hopeful young editors staffed the tables at the AWP Bookfair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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