PRAISE for Wildflowers
Once in a decade, California desert regales us with a superbloom. Wildflower seeds lie dormant in the ground, waiting for the right amount of moisture, wind, and shade to germinate. Unpretentious on their own, golden poppies, bluebells, and brittlebush are astonishing when they blossom all together at one and the same time. Such are characters in Beverly Parayno’s stories: Tender and hardy, each flourishes in the most unlikely circumstances. In this collection, they are spellbinding, unforgettable.
—Olga Zilberbourg, author of Like Water and Other Stories
Beverly Parayno’s short story collection, WILDFLOWERS, centers the lives of girls and women in trouble. Her stories, set in the Bay Area, Ireland, and the Philippines, invite the reader into the most intimate and private spaces where Filipino characters abandon their performance of a public self and show us the truth of their lives as they struggle with mental health, relationships, intergenerational trauma, and the reverberating violence of colonialism, capitalism, and various inequalities. The characters are constantly aware of the distance between what they want and what they have as they collide with the realities of their particular lives. These stories are absorbing, expansive, and full of compassion. I am grateful for Parayno’s carefully observed, generous stories.
—Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers
“Set in America and the Philippines with a detour through Ireland, Beverly Parayno’s WILDFLOWERS speaks a truth every immigrant knows: home can be both battleground and refuge—a place to flee, a place to seek out. This standout collection is honest and tough, and though Parayno’s characters don’t have it easy, they never settle or surrender. They fight toward an uncertain future, leaving us with unforgettably heartbreaking stories along the way.”
—Lysley Tenorio, author of The Son of Good Fortune
Wildflowers is a feat of rigorous craft and beautiful singularity. The nine stories in this debut collection manifest bending moments of tension and compression, uncovering tangled relationships, childhood violence, sexual liaisons, the synchronously tender and savage bond between parent and child, and the burden of colonization and historical trauma which every Filipino family knows too well. From East San Jose’s Tully Road to Urdaneta in Pangasinan Province, Beverly Parayno has created sustained narrative arcs centering spirited and unforgettable protagonists formed as much by rubble and “corrugated overhangs” as by “endless [fields] of radiant color.”
—Aileen Cassinetto, Academy of American Poets Fellow
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