CAHSS Faculty Articles

Gathering Grief: "The Lonely Room" of Isabelo T. Crisostomo [Book Review]

Publication Title

Philippine Studies



Publication Date

Spring 1997



A writer can be associated with a tradition to such a degree that individuality of voice is obscured and the nuances of texts overlooked. For instance, a creative writer presumed to draw heavily on personal experience may be written off as a mere chronicler, a situation that has beset Isabelo T. Crisostomo. Valeros and Valeros-Gruenberg (1987, 62) assert that "His experiences have been vividly registered in his stories, told in simple and lucid language." This reaction is not uncharitable; in fact, it is really an echo of the remarks made by Alejandro R. Roces in the "Introduction" to The Lonely Room and Selected Stories (hereafter referred to as LR): "He writes nostalgic stories about...the unsung country folk who live and give birth and die in Tikiw...they are written simply and with sincerity" (ix). It is possible that the impression many readers have of Roces - a featherweight author whose one subject is gamecocking1 - has contributed to the scant critical notice that Crisostomo has been paid, especially since it is well-known that Roces discovered" Crisostomo.





Peer Reviewed

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