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Manila Noir (Philippines)

Edited by:

Fresh noir from one of the most intense, congested, and overpopulated cities in the world.

$18.95 $14.21

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Winner of the National Book Award for Best Anthology from the Manila Critics Circle!

“While certain cities in past Akashic volumes might appear to lack an obvious noir element, Manila (like Mexico City, which shares many of the same problems) practically defines it, as shown by the 14 selections in this excellent anthology. As Hagedorn points out in her insightful introduction, Manila is a city burdened with a violent and painful past, with a long heritage of foreign occupation. The specters of WWII (during which the city suffered from U.S. saturation bombing), and the oppressive 20-year reign of dictator Ferdinand Marcos live on in recent memory. The Filipino take on noir includes a liberal dose of the gothic and supernatural, with disappearance and loss being constants.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“For those who love travel, history, and a little bit of lore, this anthology transports you to the Philippines and is filled with riveting and sometimes dark stories of the capital city.”
Glamour (Summer Reading pick)

“Suffice it to say that what the Noir series in general, and Manila Noir in particular, does so well is to create a 360-degree mosaic of a place . . . By including so many perspectives, from so many walks of life, Manila Noir makes Manila seem as vibrant, and dangerous, and exciting, and confounding as it really felt to live there.”
Lit Wrap

“A collection of stories like Akashic’s forthcoming Manila Noir is enough to set a crime-fiction addict’s mouth watering.”
New York Observer

“Held closely to their breasts by the stories are messy, edged lives flaring out in seemingly random directions. But the 14 stories themselves are all elegant and smooth, like a bladed weapon concealed in a jacket. They strike suddenly but thoroughly, leaving you wounded. Embedded in each story is a deep acceptance of the fantastically flawed life in the big city and a step out of the ordinary . . . Manila Noir is a masterfully crafted anthology that reminds us that, if you truly love your city, you embrace its darkness as much as—if not more than—its brightness.”
Inquirer (Philippines)

“Excellently crafted and woven together, Jessica has compiled a series of short stories that exhibit the perfect setting and story for noir. Wonderful!”
FMAM Magazine

“This Southeast sampler is unique, possessing an overall gritty tone. Each slice of supernatural splendor pulls the reader in with their nontraditional heroes . . . Ultimately, readers get a strong taste of the real Manila and all her dark secrets, wanting more of while being slightly afraid of what she might do next. Manila is the perfect place for noir scenes to occur, and it is easy to get sucked into its deadly nightshade of doom.”
Criminal Class Press

“[Manila Noir] is among the most moving, effective and altogether noir entry in the entire series.”

“In . . . Manila Noir, the latest addition to Akashic Book’s series of original noir anthologies, poet, novelist, and artist Jessica Hagedorn writes of how ghosts of past occupations, buried secrets, corrupt political dealings, crime, and inequality have shaped the fabric of the Philippine capital city.”
The Margins

“It is Manila itself—its heat and throb, its particular melange of Asia and America, its poverty and wealth, its diverse neighborhoods, the iconic pan de sal—that is the main protagonist in the collection as a whole . . . every reader—even those with weak stomachs or no particular affinity for noir—is likely to find some that are intriguing, enjoyable or eye-opening.”
Asian Review of Books


Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

Brand-new stories by: Lourd De Veyra, Gina Apostol, Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo, F.H. Batacan, Jose Dalisay Jr., Eric Gamalinda, Jessica Hagedorn, Angelo Lacuesta, R. Zamora Linmark, Rosario Cruz-Lucero, Sabina Murray, Jonas Vitman, Marianne Villanueva, and Lysley Tenorio.

From the introduction by Jessica Hagedorn:

“Manila’s a city of survivors, schemers, and dreamers . . . A city of extremes. Where the rich live in posh enclaves, guarded by men with guns. Where the poor improvise homes out of wood, tin, and cardboard and live by their wits. Where five-star hotels and luxury malls selling Prada and Louis Vuitton coexist with toxic garbage dumps and sprawling “informal settlements” (a.k.a. squatter settlements), where religious zeal coexists with superstition, where “hospitality” might be another word for prostitution, where sports and show business can be the first step to politics, where politics can be synonymous with nepotism, cronyism, and corruption, where violence is nothing out of the ordinary, and pretty much anything can be had for a price—if you have the money and/or the connections, that is . . .

As you will see from this steamy collection of stories, all these delicious contradictions serve to enrich and expand our concept of noir. What you will also find are the noir essentials: alienated and desperate characters, terse dialogue, sudden violence, betrayals left and right . . . All the fabulous and fearless writers gathered here have a deep connection and abiding love for this crazy-making, intoxicating city. There’s nothing like it in the world, and they know it.”

To listen to a radio interview with editor Jessica Hagedorn on The Blood-Jet Writing Hour, please click here.

Click here to watch the Manila Noir launch event at the Asia Society, featuring  Jessica Hagedorn, Gina Apostol, Sabina Murray, and filmmaker Ron Morales.

Click here to read an interview with Jessica Hagedorn at Lit Wrap.

Table of Contents


Part I: Us against Them
“Aviary” by Lysley Tenorio (Greenbelt Mall, Makati)
“A Human Right” by Rosario Cruz-Lucero (Intramuros)
“Satan Has Already Bought U” by Lourd de Veyra (Project 2, Quezon City)
“Broken Glass” by Sabina Murray (New Manila)
“After Midnight” by Angelo R. Lacuesta (J.P. Rizal)

Part II: Black Pearl of the Orient
“Trese: Thirteen Stations” by Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo (EDSA, Metro Manila)
“Comforter of the Afflicted” by F.H. Batacan (Lagro)
“The Professor’s Wife” by Jose Dalisay (Diliman)
“Cariño Brutal” by R. Zamora Linmark (Tondo)
“The Unintended” by Gina Apostol (Ali Mall, Cubao)

Part III: They Live by Night
“Old Money” by Jessica Hagedorn (Forbes Park)
“Desire” by Marianne Villanueva (Ermita)
“Darling, You Can Count on Me” by Eric Gamalinda (Santa Cruz)
“Norma from Norman” by Jonas Vitman (Chinatown)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Published: 6/4/13
  • IBSN: 9781617751608
  • e-IBSN: 9781617751769


JESSICA HAGEDORN was born in Manila and now lives in New York. A novelist, poet, and playwright, her published works include Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster Of Love, Danger and Beauty, and Dogeaters, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. She also edited both volumes of the groundbreaking anthology, Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction. She is the editor of Manila Noir. Visit her website at www.jessicahagedorn.net

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