When the Rainbow Goddess Wept

( 2 )

Overview


Set against the backdrop of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's brilliant novel weaves myth and legend together with the suffering and tragedies of the Filipino people. When nine-year-old Yvonne flees with her family into the jungle to join the resistance effort, she witnesses death and destruction on an almost unimaginable scale.

In the face of terror and despair, she finds comfort in the stories her people have passed down over ...

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When the Rainbow Goddess Wept

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Overview


Set against the backdrop of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's brilliant novel weaves myth and legend together with the suffering and tragedies of the Filipino people. When nine-year-old Yvonne flees with her family into the jungle to join the resistance effort, she witnesses death and destruction on an almost unimaginable scale.

In the face of terror and despair, she finds comfort in the stories her people have passed down over generations. In particular, the legends of Bongkatolan, the Woman Warrior, and the merciful rainbow goddess offer her strength and hope. Yvonne becomes determined to preserve these ancient legends and to give voice to the epic she herself is living.

When the Rainbow Goddess Wept is an exploration of the collective wounding of the Filipino people and their heroic response. It shows us the Philippines through an insider's eyes and brings to American audiences an unusual reading experience about a world that is utterly foreign and a child who is touchingly universal.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard was born in Cebu City, Philippines. Her published works include Woman with Horns and Other Stories and Philippine Woman in America. She is also the editor of the anthology Fiction by Filipinos in America and teaches creative writing at the Writers' Program of UCLA Extension.

Brainard's fresh and powerful voice fills a void in Asian-American literature with a novel steeped in the enchantment and suffering of the Filipino people. In the story of nine-year-old Yvonne's flight from the Japanese invasion and her determination to hold fast to her people's myths and legends, Brainard lays bare the real-life drama of World War II's devastating effect on the lives of the Filipinos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Yvonne Macaraig is an exuberant and mischievous nine-year-old when the Japanese invade her Philippine homeland in 1941, and so she begins her grim story of endurance and survival with a spirit of adventure and optimism. Her father, Nando, an American-trained engineer who's invaluable to the guerrilla movement, is often called away as Yvonne, her mother and a small family entourage flee toward presumed safety ever deeper in the jungle. Yvonne witnesses scenes of incredible carnage and silently notes the slow decline in her mother's health, but her spirits are buoyed by the Philippine folktales narrated to her by the family cook. These myths and legends, violent and colorful, extol the gallantry of ancient warrior kings or show the triumph of love and valor over subjugation. In simple yet deeply moving prose, Brainard's first novel presents similar acts of monumental courage: a doctor's sacrifice in the jungle; quiet defiance against terrorist threats. Gradually, Nando and his companions become aware that the U.S. is capable of betraying them-and that Philippine independence is a necessity. The strengthening of the national spirit; the loss of innocence in two generations-these themes are explored by the author, who was born in the Philippines, with persuasive conviction and stark realism. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Pedestrian and simplistic writing dulls the impact of this potentially moving autobiographical first novel, set during Japanese occupation of the Philippines (1941-44). Nine-year-old Yvonne, whose father has joined the resistance movement, tells the story of her family's flight from their upper-class home in Udec to a guerrilla camp in the jungles. Unfortunately, Yvonne's voice fluctuates between that of a younger and that of a much older narrator. In addition, Brainard's characters are not well rounded, so it's hard to become involved in the horrors of Japanese violence and butchery that are visited upon them. The best parts of the novel are the Filipino myths and legends woven into the historical account of a part of World War II that is generally unfamiliar to American readers. Libraries with large Asian fiction collections may want to purchase.-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Kathleen Hughes
Yvonne Macairag is a nine-year-old living in the Philippines during World War II. She plays contentedly with her cousin, Esperanza, and spends quiet evenings on the veranda with her grandfather. Her family life is idyllic. All of this is lost when the Japanese invade the Philippines. Yvonne flees to the jungle, where her father joins the resistance movement, the guerilleros. Life is hard in the jungle, and Yvonne is often exposed to the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers. As the chi
Publishers' Weekly
Yvonne Macaraig is an exuberant and mischievous nine-year-old when the Japanese invade her Philippine homeland in 1941; and so she begins her grim story of endurance and survival with a spirit of adventure and optimism. Her father, Nando, an American-trained engineer who's invaluable to the guerrilla movement, is often called away as Yvonne, her mother, and a small family entourage flee toward presumed safety ever deeper in the jungle. Yvonne witnesses scenes of incredible carnage and silently n
Erin J. Aubry
Stories of war are perhaps most compelling when told through the eyes of children, whose innocence is always so tragically incongruous to the adult madness that rages around them. "When the Rainbow Goddess Wept," a first novel by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard that chronicles the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II, is no exception.

Told by nine-year-old Filipina Yvonne Macaraig, the narrative is rendered in a touchingly plain style that manages to be both wondrously ch
Kirkus Reviews
Interweaves realistic events with myths of women fighters and goddesses, as well as fantastic dreams...Brainard's appealing characters are larger than life, people who change before our eyes, yet remain utterly convincing....A fast-paced, sensitively written first novel
Aram Saroyan
With the eye and ear of a born storyteller, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard has given us a deeply moving novel of a young girl's coming of age in the Japanese-occupied Philippines of the Second World War...Steeped in an Asian culture's colorful and healing mythology, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept is destined to become a classic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472086375
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/1999
  • Series: Ann Arbor Paperbacks
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 700,705
  • Product dimensions: 5.27 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the award-winning author of nine books, including the internationally-acclaimed novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, Vigan and Other Stories, Acapulco at Sunset and Other Stories, Philippine Woman in America, Woman With Horns and Other Stories, Cecilia's Diary 1962-1968, Fundamentals of Creative Writing, and Out of Cebu: Essays and Personal Prose. She edited four books: Growing Up Filipino I and II, Fiction by Filipinos in America, Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America. Cecilia co-edited six books, including Journey of 100 Years: Reflections on the Centennial of Philippine Independence; Behind the Walls: Life of Convent GirlsAla Carte: Food and Fiction, and Finding God: True Stories of Spiritual Encounters. She has also written a novel with four other women entitled, Angelica's Daughters, a Dugtungan Novel. Her work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish; and many of her stories and articles have been widely anthologized.

Cecilia has received a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, 21st District. She has also been awarded by the Filipino and Filipino American communities she has served. She received the prestigious Filipinas Magazine Arts Award, and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu, Philippines. She has received several travel grants in the Philippines, from the USIS (United States Information Service).

She has lectured and performed in worldwide literary arts organizations and universities, including UCLA, USC, University of Connecticut, University of the Philippines, PEN, Beyond Baroque, Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and many others. She teaches creative writing at the Writers Program at UCLA-Extension. 

She is married to Lauren R. Brainard, a former Peace Corp Volunteer to Leyte, Philippines; they have three sons.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2005

    A wonderful book

    This book was recommended to me by my cousin, who had to read it for school. Having had bad experiences with school-assigned books, I hesitated to read it at first. But when I picked it up, I could not put it down again. When The Rainbow Goddess Wept was a wonderfully written book about war and its effects on families. It is told from the perspective of a child, an interesting outlook on the horrors of war and, in my opinion, a better outlook than that of an adult. Although the book can be very intense sometimes graphic, it is also truthful and worth reading. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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    Posted May 7, 2009

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