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In the Country by Mia Alvar
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In the Country

Stories

$20.99 USD

Retail price (USD): $22.95

Discount: 9%

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Length 13 hours 35 minutes
Language English
Narrators Nancy Wu & Don Castro
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These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begin new lives in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere—and sometimes turning back again.

A pharmacist living in New York smuggles drugs to his ailing father in Manila, only to discover alarming truths about his family and his past. A Filipina teacher drawn to a special pupil finds, to her surprise, that she is questioning her own marriage. A college student leans on her brother, a laborer in Saudi Arabia, to support her writing ambitions, without realizing that his is the life truly made for fiction. And in the title story, a journalist and a nurse face an unspeakable trauma amid the political turmoil of the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s.

In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar’s powerful debut collection explores the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. Deeply compassionate and richly felt, In the Country marks the emergence of a formidable new writer.

Mia Alvar was born in Manila and grew up in Bahrain and New York City. Her work has appeared in One Story, the Missouri Review, FiveChapters, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Yaddo, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia University, she lives in New York City.

Nancy Wu has narrated audiobooks since 2004, winning three AudioFile Earphones Awards. A New York theater, television, and film actor, she has recorded in studios all over the world—from Italy to Switzerland to Thailand. Her credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Hope & Faith, All My Children, Made for Each Other, and the Oscar-nominated film Frozen River.

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Reviews

“Alvar’s…diamond prose sparkles so brightly and cuts so deeply. Each marvelous story shows us a facet of the Philippines at a distance…and how our ties to the past can be simultaneously tenuous and tenacious.”

“Summer’s standout debut is Mia Alvar’s peripatetic story collection, In the Country, which captures a global village of voices—a blue-eyed fashion model in Manila; a nanny in gilded Bahrain—with a ventriloquist’s ease.”

“Through careful, delicate prose, Alvar reveals her characters’ pasts and desires, which range from saintly to shameful in this deeply religious culture…Alvar’s characters are engaging and memorable…as she places us gently, firmly, into their imperfect lives. Grad: A–."

“In lush, sinuous sentences, Alvar probes the enduring stain of race, colonialism, and especially class, giving voice to all strata of Philippine society.”

“Offers deft portraits of transnational wanderers, blessed and cursed with mobility…Clearly a writer with enchanting powers.”

“The initial ‘selling point’ of…In the Country, is its fresh subject matter…[and her] gorgeous writing style…Alvar is the kind of writer whose imagination seems inexhaustible, and who stirs up an answering desire in her readers for more and more stories.”

“Alvar delves into the multifaceted immigrant experience, one compassionately drawn perspective at a time.”

“Alvar’s debut story collection is so well-drawn and plot-rich that you almost wish it were a novel.”

“In this stunning debut collection, the yearnings of the characters resonate well beyond the page, and each story feels as rich, as deep, and as crafted as a novel.…The language is as elegant as it is durable, while the lines of class, race, gender, and history are both blurred and crystallized.”

“Few writers…can produce collections of evenly superb stories. Mia Alvar triumphs on her first try.”

“Stunning…[Alvar’s] electric prose probes the tension between social classes…A triumphant, singular collection deserving of every accolade it will likely receive.”

“Using two narrators for this collection gives these short stories vocal variety as they alternate between female and male characters…The narrators’ voices are husky with the emotion of first-person ruminations. The listener will be drawn into the complexity of lives that balance poverty and luxury…all of these dark topics come together in this wide range of short stories.”

In the Country is filled with graceful, carefully crafted stories—each one a world unto itself.”

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