The Newspaper Widow by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

THE NEWSPAPER WIDOW by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
University of Santo Tomas Publishing House 2017, Manila, Distributed by PALH, 238 pages)
Available from Amazon

ISBN 9789715068116 (sc) $18.95
Finalist for the 37th National Book Award in Literature (English, Novel)
Shortlisted for the Inaguaral Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for the Novel.

FOREWORD Review of The Newspaper Widow:

While at first glance The Newspaper Widow seems like a standard historical mystery, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's novel is full and complex, overflowing with textured, fully realized characters who drive the story on every page. Ines Maceda, the "newspaper widow," aims to clear her son's name. He has been accused of murdering a priest. In addition, Ines grieves for her deceased husband and combats the lingering trauma of earlier miscarriages. Her development is one of the shining elements of the novel-she feels tangible, rooted in the story and the setting. The Newspaper Widow offers a nuanced glance into Filipino society circa 1908. It is a world rich with history, myth, and ritual; descriptions pulse with life, providing crucial insights into aspects of Filipino culture and world colonial history, such as encounters with the "Island of the Living Dead," sectioned off to contain those inflicted with leprosy, and once the world's largest leper colony. While on the surface the book is a crime story, the plot is actually layered and unique. One of the novel's greatest strengths is how it raises interesting, complicated questions about morality and justice while Ines searches for the priest's true killer: Is death ever an apt punishment for a crime? Is revenge moral, or even necessary? Refreshingly, nothing is black and white . For all of The Newspaper Widow's greatness, sometimes there are too many layers to the plot, and the ending falls a bit flat in comparison to the rest of the narrative. But flaws are minor; overall, this is a solid, satisfying work of literature. Cecilia Manguerra Brainard displays masterful storytelling skill in The Newspaper Widow, a unique, memorable mystery. Review by MYA ALEXICE

Book Reviews of The Newspaper Widow: (click on links)

The Manila Times Book Review by Faye Valencia, May 12, 2019

Foreword January/February 2018

Book Review by Dr. Herminia MeƱez Coben, PALH, November 9, 2018

Positively Filipino Review by Lisa Suguitan Melnick, March 27, 2018

Book Trailer of The Newspaper Widow in YouTube

Reading by Cecilia Brainard of The Newspaper Widow in YouTube

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