SCENT OF APPLES: A Collection of Stories by Bienvenido N. Santos

SCENT OF APPLES: A Collection of Stories

Email this review


Santos, a Filipino who has lived off and on in the U.S. for long periods of time since World War II, focuses his stories on men who've shared this experience: the ""o.t.""s--old timers. But he also examines the more newly arrived bellhops, taxi drivers, cooks. And ""the hurt men"" too: those educated professionals stranded in Boston or Washington when the Japanese invaded the home islands and decimated families that the men know they'll never see alive again. Ambo, Teroy, Leo, Doc, Ben--they play poker, go to dances, cook native dishes together, are attracted to (and successful with) American women. But they're dying inside; and all their anguish is reflected in gentle jokes and a faraway-ness in behavior even among themselves. Santos, with considerable narrative assurance, uses this material to create one touching story after another. His characters, ""the hurt men,"" are agreeable, sympathetic, modest, in terrible pain--and the closer he follows them the more honestly and movingly they work for him. ""The Day the Dancers Came"" (about a Chicago ""o.t."" cabdriver unable to coax a troupe of visiting Philippine dancers home with him for a meal) and ""Quicker Than Arrows"" (about the paralyzed amorous mortifications of a Filipino in love with a loving white American girl) are the standouts here; but the whole collection is affecting--a small, unexpected gift from a writer with a welcome new voice.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1980
Publisher: Univ. of Washington Press