Woman With Horns and Other Stories by Cecilia Brainard



Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

PALH 2020, 103 pages, softcover ISBN 98153716033, $11.95

Available from Amazon

Available from Kindle

This 2020 US Edition of Woman with Horns and Other Stories by Philippine American writer Cecilia Manguerra Brainard introduces her first book to a new audience as well as readers of her subsequent books, which have been recognized as significant contributions to Filipino, Philippine American, as well as Asian American literature.

Folkloric, Historic, and Absolutely Charming

The reception of Cecilia Brainard’s fist short story collection, Woman with Horns and Other Stories, has been extraordinary. Her mythical place Ubec has been embraced by the people of Cebu and “Ubec” has become part of their lexicon. Many teachers use stories from this collection and YouTube has student films of the story “Woman with Horns” in particular. There is even a Wikipedia write-up about “Woman with Horns.” The book collects a dozen stories that draw from historical and contemporary sources. Many of these stories explore the clash of Philippine culture with foreign influences that reached the archipelago during different historical periods.

“Fascinating stories that take us back to a Philippine past historical and contemporaneous, against a backdrop of legend and superstitions. In these stories, the East meets the West and it’s no big deal. In a role reversal of sorts, the Filipino woman characters are not shy. They know what they want and get it. At least they try. It’s the American men who appear distracted and uncomfortable with their secret need. Fun reading!” (Bienvenido N. Santos, Author)

“My favorite is ‘The Blue-Green Chiffon Dress’; and of course I like Ubec … It is quite the right place for Gemma, a fictional creation after my heart to grow up in and remember. I wish her all the best.” (N.V.M. Gonzalez, Author)

“The author has three counts going for her: a natural sensitivity, an ability to juxtapose words with locale – and—the formal training shows … Filipiniana literature is richer for the Cecilia Manguerra Brainard collection.” (Lina Espina-Moore, Author)

“Cecilia Brainard is a gifted writer able to draw from both historical and contemporary sources – folktales, epics, and nuggets of her own experience. Especially impressive is the way she jumps into the story, and within three or four lines, sets the time, mood, and pace of a story. (The writer) has the ability to depict many aspects of a feminine persona without the stereotypes: in the stories, women, whether they be young or old, emerge as passionate, innocent, feisty, flashy, or reticent, as the narrative demands.” (Russel Leong, Editor Amerasia Journal, UCLA)

“… more than just a collection of stories. The stories teach us about history as they transport us into the different periods in Philippine history … We see examples of the different genres of folklore as we are introduced to creatures of lower mythologies … folk beliefs … proverbs … funereal practices … rituals. The author has very effectively interwoven history, folklore, and fiction, and has come up with fascinating stories and delightful characters that release a flood of fond memories for the Filipino reader while at the same time providing valuable insight about the Filipinos and their culture to others.” (Susan N. Montepio for Amerasia Journal)

“Beautifully written in the minimalist style yet never lacking color and clarity, Brainard’s stories reach out from the deep centuries of folklore, superstition, religion, customs, geography and history to bring them life into the present. But more than life itself, this book mirrors the unique ways in which the Filipino woman searches for meaning. The locale and period of each story expand rather than limit the characters’ choices.” (Marie Castillo-Pruden for Katipunan)

“A welcome addition to Filipiniana.” (Manila Times)


Book Review

World Literature Today, Spring 1989

Articles and Links

Wikipedia’s page

The Phenomenon of “Woman with Horns”

Student Films


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