Sixteen deceptively simple stories comprise Michelle Cruz Skinner’s much-anticipated follow-up to Balikbayan and Mango Seasons, many of them about Filipinos tongue-tied and alienated in the motherland, or scattered across the map of heartaches and homesickness in the company of strangers called countrymen, family, lovers. A book of quiet gems definitely worth the wait.
—R. Zamora Linmark, author of Prime Time Apparitions and The Evolution of a Sigh
Michelle Cruz Skinner teaches at Punahou School. She was born in Manila and raised primarily in Olongapo City, Philippines. A short story from her first collection was selected for the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project and her second book was nominated for the 1996 Philippine National Book Award. Her work has been adapted for stage and public radio and she has read extensively at universities and conferences, both in the Philippines and on the mainland.
"Cruz Skinner, who now lives in Honolulu, has won acclaim inside the Fil-Am literary community for her sharply observed tales of everyday life, but with the exception of a choice award nomination or two, she has remained under the radar even for most of the highbrow literary crowd. Here’s hoping Cruz Skinner’s most recent collection, In the Company of Strangers, will change that. With stories ranging from the heart of Manila to the far reaches of the Filipino diaspora, this new collection is a true tour de force."
—from Ragnar Carlson's review, Honolulu Weekly 1/6/10
The essential subject of these captivating stories is memory, but memory filtered by what cannot—or even should not—be said. The corrosive effects of a secret history, the burdens of understanding, are limned through stories both spare and lyrical. In a way, these stories tell a kind of love story: the love of a daughter for a heritage that, even while suppressed or denied, can never be erased.
—Marianne Villanueva, author of Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila and Mayor of the Roses: Stories
Michelle Cruz Skinner shows us again that exile sometimes captures the body and sometime the heart; she writes closely about love and life in a family and we see that distance, longing, and desire all can contribute to the things misplaced in translation.
—Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies and The Signal