Krystal Hut: Stories

Krystal Hut: Stories

by Erlinda V. Kravetz


Use Standard Shipping. For guaranteed delivery by December 24, use Express or Expedited Shipping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478147640
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 04/04/2013
Pages: 214
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.45(d)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Krystal Hut: Stories 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you know, really know, the Filipino culture? Have you ever traveled to the islands, journeyed even in literature, to the Philippines? So far away in nautical miles, the story of its people lies so close to the American soul. Does its beauty, its mystery, elude you? Or perhaps the history of this nation, the ways of its many millions, and the nature of the island chain that was for so long a political part of the American entity and is now a once-imagined land, resides just slightly beneath the surface of your consciousness. Similarly, how familiar to you are the joys and the terrors, the aspirations and the defeats, the considerable achievements and the terrible, looming failures of this immigrant and ethnic group once it has arrived here -- sometimes so quintessentially American, sometimes so totally foreign? The pulsating life of the Filipinos in America became a mystery in the decades after the immigration reform of 1965. Why is this second archipelago, flung down here in North America, as distant to most non-Filipino Americans as the first? Unbeknownst to most Americans, as their nation lumbers through yet another ugly, xenophobic debate on immigration, the lines of Filipinos waiting to enter the United States are longer than those for any other country in the world. Take a look at the current quota for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. One would have had to apply on January 8, 1990 – 23 years ago! – to be eligible for entry today. Why this long, cruel line? Why are families condemned to remain ripped apart, virtually forever, by the United States law? It is because the Philippines, and Filipinos, remain forever assigned to their unique status: always Americans, yet not quite Americans. The American literary scene abounds with stories about hyphenated Americans from India, China, South America, Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Korea and other countries. But those from the Philippines have hardly ever been written. Onto the literary stage a new, shining talent has arisen to fill the caesura to reveal this large, vibrant ethnic culture among us. Herself a Filipino-American, she blazes her way with poignant, unforgettable short stories which recount the life of her compatriots on the American continent as well as those back in the homeland. Erlinda Villamor Kravetz, a graduate of Columbia University and New York University, had for decades worked as a journalist in her adopted country; she knows America, the Philippines, and the life of Filipino-Americans straddling two cultures. Once you flip through her book, Krystal Hut: Stories, you will be unable to put it down until you’ve finished reading it all. Who lives on these pages? • In Krystal Hut, the title story, we meet a Filipino widower who has struggled to find the American dream, yet is wracked with loneliness and nostalgia. He responds to a posting on an online dating site, and flies across the continent - from Los Angeles to New York - to meet his dream wife. His expectations and hers collide in the wrenching reality of modern-day immigration, where love - sparkly yet brittle like crystal - hardly figures in the equation. The experience forces him to look into himself to find an accommodation by which he now has to live his life. • Or, look upon the lives of a struggling couple in New Jersey, grafting Asian hopes onto an American skein. He is an ambitious, bright young physician, a Philippine-American intellectual. She is a gifted nurse who sees another way to success. She opens up a grocery store in a blighted urban neighborhood, and earns municipal plaudits as a city pioneer. But can her desire for upward mobility through hard work trump her husband’s wish to stay in the marriage and stay in his distinguished calling as a doctor? • An accident on a busy California highway groaning with holiday weekend travelers shatters a Filipino woman’s hard-earned life in America. The crash, triggered by a dust storm, claims the lives of her rock of stability – her husband and their children. The once anonymous, happily settled Filipina suddenly finds herself in the crush of press attention at the worst moment of her life. Despite the inevitability of death, suspense permeates the hours during which she clings to the last shred of hope for her loved ones. We see her being comforted and solaced by the community, but is her identity gone forever, not reclaimable, with only memories left – just like her country of birth? Ms. Kravetz has more sense than to succumb to platitudes and easy sentimentality to end this riveting narrative on a hopeful note. • There is a gripping tale of love and life in contemporary Hawaii, where a wealthy Ivy League icon, a brilliant and rich Japanese-American, falls for a bright Filipino girl, even though the potential mother-in-law disapproves, and despite memories of her grandparents’ torture and death at the hands of Japanese soldiers. The story is steeped in the culture and lush landscape of Hawaii. • In Achara, members of a Filipino immigrant family from New Jersey, Honolulu, Maryland and Los Angeles reunite in New York to honor their widowed mother. The children can thrive everywhere. But the mother? She is unhappy wherever she is in America; she cooks typically Filipino food so the children won’t forget their country of origin. The family may live in the United States but the homeland must not be forgotten. This is the American dilemma of every immigrant group; to succeed, it must strike a balance between the old and the new- in the mother’s words, between the “push and pull of the vinegar and the sugar” in her achara recipe. • An award-winning piece, Song from the Mountain, sings of love, betrayal, loyalty -- competing human drives – among young scholars at one of America’s greatest universities. We see the recklessness of youthful passion kindled by their deluded notions of freedom in America. When hot, insatiable, tropical desire clashes against faithfulness and commitment, atop the snow flurries upon New York’s intellectual Acropolis, which path is taken in the end? The Filipino way. After reading this brilliant new collection, we ask what drives so many millions to seek a new life in America, in spite of the challenges. The answer may lie on the other stories in the collection which deal with the culture of poverty in the Philippines. Ms. Kravetz describes the tragedies of the very poor so beautifully, with such skill as an author, that the reader may miss the obvious: grinding poverty is never far away in the Philippines, always stalking, a killer that won’t leave. Some people are forced to live below rich people’s homes, eating crumbs that drop through the slats. Others are made to crawl up Manila’s garbage heaps every day to find sustenance. And, worst of all, one comes back from church to find her child dead and dismembered, the victim of a typhoon because he lived, briefly unattended, in poor housing. To get away from such terrible fates, to find the way out, to have a chance at a fair and reasonable life based on one’s merits and abilities, the solution sits on a tarmac at an airport in Manila. Fly with the people of the Philippines on their way to a new homeland, in this book, and you’ll never wonder again why the Filipinos have constituted for many years a huge and ever-growing diaspora.