Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.

10 June, 2015

Monica Macansantos, "The Feast of All Souls"

A first-person story told in eight sections that move back and forth between scene of mother, Vicky, and daughter, Ina, visiting the cemetery where Erika is buried to backstory sections where we learn about Erika's mother. Erika died about twenty years ago when she was only two days old. There are great descriptions of the Baguio Cemetery, south of Manila, in the Philippines.

Aunt Carmen and Uncle Mar with their two sons, Nico and Raul, now live in Manila. Carmen does not visit the cemetery but her sister, Vicky, does once a year and until now with her husband. This is the first time that Ina will accompany her mother on Feast of All Souls day.

The story seems to be about traditions and customs as well as a daughter maturing and becoming able and willing to assist her mother in carrying on those traditions and customs. The mother, Vicky, seems to understand that her sister does not have an interest in performing those tasks but she doesn't seem to hold it against her. Instead she makes excuses for Carmen. Either she feels responsible and/or she understands that times change and not all rituals mean the same thing to everyone. The story has one foot in modernity and another foot in history and tradition.

"The Feast of All Souls" was published in The Masters Review in 2012.