by Yves Lamson
The Philippines are bodies of water, and so are we — Following the lives of four generations of women with an innate ability to speak to water, Bodies of Water straddles the border between reality and magic. Set against the lush and vibrant backdrop of rural Philippine life, familial myths collide with historical events and people. All the while, creatures of legend and folklore pulled from the rich tapestry that is the Philippine oral tradition lurk just beyond the safety of home in the dark, deep jungle. Vida, Valentina, Lailani and Karagatan know the secrets of the body; the water in each of us speaks to them. These women are healers, survivors and mothers. Yet more than simply tracing the lineage of these women whose personal history is weighty with magic and mysticism, Bodies of Water anchors these women to reality, placing them within historical events. World War II, the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the reign of Marcos, and the subsequent diaspora of the Philippine people serve to ground — not drown these women, for they've learned to breathe underwater.
Yves Lamson's mythological revisionist fiction aims to preserve the intangible histories of the Philippine oral tradition. By filling in the plot holes present within the folklore due to the passage of time and generational retellings, he gives the stories the ability to hold more water. At times historical, but always infused with magic, Bodies of Water challenges you to make waves — there's an ocean inside you already.