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Intramuros

Was trawling Boston Review's contest site and found out 2004's winning piece for their annual short story contest is "Intramuros" by Lisa Chipongian. Could there be any other Intramuros in the world, I wondered.

August, 1944. My father sent me to a boys’ school in Manila; he was no longer willing, he said, to let the war interrupt my education. Since large sections of the train tracks leading in and out of Manila had been destroyed, he arranged for me to ride in the back of a delivery truck already headed for the city.

The morning I left was dark and rainy. When I came down to the kitchen, my mother, always up early, was listening to music (piano, a waltz) and looking out the window—at the fine white drizzle; at the yard, drenched with rain; at the small patch of weeds and mud that used to be a garden. In the empty lot beside our house where she raised her pigs, the enormous Poland China named Bea and the huge boar and the piglets—pink and explicit as raw flesh—all stood, dead still, in the steady white drizzle of rain.

Was wondering about the author's affiliation with our country. Have yet to read the story, but here's what the judges said:

About Boston Review’s 12th Annual Short-Story Contest

This was a banner year for our contest; we had a strong crop of submissions, and many of the stories (including our winner’s) focused on the travails of childhood and on love affairs gone disastrously, disastrously wrong. Our judge, Edwidge Danticat, was moved to elect our winner because of her “vivid and powerful prose” and because there was no other entry that offered so “wonderful a meditation on childhood.” We on the editorial staff join Ms. Danticat in congratulating Lisa Chipongian. — Junot Díaz

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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