Merlinda Bobis is the author of four poetry books, four plays, and a collection of short stories. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. Her Summer Was a Fast Train Without Terminals was short-listed for Australia’s The Age Poetry Book Award. She is currently writing her first novel, Fish-Hair Woman, which received the prestigious New South Wales Writers’ Fellowship. Bobis is an accomplished performer of her own poetry, embodying text in dance, music and theater. She teaches creative writing at the University of Wollongong, Australia.


The Kissing
Merlinda Bobis

Awarded the National Book Award for Fiction from the Manila Critics’ Circle

Originally published in Australia under the title White Turtle, this collection

of short stories by Filipina writer Merlinda Bobis offers lyrical explorations of postcolonial Filipino experience. Bobis writes about the taste of a kiss at the

front door, an erring bannana heart, the soul and blues of a jacaranda, a war

that leaves the scent of lemongrass, and jasmine planted on the back of the

dead in stories that are at once epic in scope and intimate in detail.

“Shrimp paste, papaya, gingered chicken, steak and peppercorns, coconut meat, sticky yams, McDonald’s hamburgers, banana heart . . . To read Merlinda Bobis’s collection of short fiction is to sample a riot of tastes indivisible from that other joy of the tongue—language . . . Death, desire, joy, and grief are all revealed to the reader, and not with a comfortable objectivity—all five senses are engaged, and raw to the experience. Bobis’s tales slip easily between realism and fairy tale, coaxing the reader across barriers of logic into a comprehension rooted in folklore and imagination. . . It would be hard to find a writer with more love and reverence for all the pleasures the tongue is capable of enduring.”

—EJ Patrick, Ms. Magazine

“Merlinda Bobis writes like an angel. Her characters whisper to you long after they’ve told their bittersweet tales.”

—Arlene J. Chai

“In [Bobis’s] work, the graceful use of metaphor becomes a formidable weapon, blasting escape routes out of stories of poverty and oppression. At turns comic, unsettling and beautiful, [this] is a book to be enjoyed and treasured.”

—Rachel Cunneen, Amida Magazine


"How else could one describe this rare energy squeezed most of the time in short, short pieces brimming with a kind of surreal disassociativeness but with a logic of its own, spinning with an enchantment that is a shamanlike summoning up of experience within the reader?"

   —Ophelia A. Dimalanta, Philippine Daily Inquirer




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