VIVIDLY DESCRIBE THE STREET LIFE IN MANILA – The ability to write metaphors, on a human scale

The representation of lived lives, between two worlds

Born in the Philippines, but raised in the United States, she graduated from Harvard College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Mia Alvar received scholarships; her work has appeared in prestigious international journals. A collection of her short stories, “In the Country“, has won three prestigious international awards. Currently, she lives in California. It is about the lives of men and women, within a diaspora. Why not read that mottled collection of stories?

She has a particular skill: she captures what comes from uprooting oneself from a place or an idea. For some critics her writing is wonderful, but her readers also appreciate her human-sized prose. “In the Country“, her first feature, Mia Alvar described the inconvenient and messy lives of Filipino workers in exile. These labors, dispersed everywhere for economic reasons, offered her the opportunity to trace the concrete identikit that unites their lives full of cultural conflicts.

In that book, she tackle the theme of an invisible border crossing. Beyond her characters, live the experience of having to overcome fences that delimit linguistic, religious and racial properties. That first her book, “In the Country”, consisting of a series of stories about the Philippine diaspora, draws on his personal experiences, but also – and above all – on some characters he met. For this reason too, as for that kind of fellow compatriots, Mia Alvar experienced that immigrant anxiety firsthand.

For her short story collection “In the Country“, Mia Alvar was the winner of the 2016 PEN / Robert W. Bingham Award for debut fiction. By reading this book, you too can discover her characters reflecting on their own cultural identity, stories of lives facing challenges. Her stories explore the experiences of displacement and the longing to connect across borders. Into this book, she speaks to the heart of everyone who search for a place to call home.

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