Vampires of Portlandia

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Portland, Oregon is a place harboring many myths: hipsters, Sasquatch, absurdity, and weirdness converge in a city where rain is abundant, and monsters lurk. It is the perfect setting for the family of aswangs in Jason Tanamor’s Vampires in Portlandia. Were-beasts, ghouls, viscera-suckers, and witches of Filipino lore make sense of their identities not only as young Filipinos, they are also managing internal conflicts within the pantheon.

Tanamor’s infatuation with Portland is obvious, as he incorporates prominent places in the city’s inner core. Quirky Portlandia, proud of its unique vibe, is alive and well in places like Hobo’s, the Shanghai Tunnels, and the Lovecraft Bar where the cool aswang hang out, but in an ironic way.

As diverse authors locate and leverage the richness of their heritage and culture, readers expand their knowledge of mythology beyond the Eurocentric and/or Westernized worldview that often produces familiar characters and predictable plotlines. Tanamor’s attempt to bring mythology from his ancestral Philippines to a mainstream audience is laudable. Percival, his siblings, and the other aswang are hyphenated Americans who bring their culture to the already complicated scenario of surviving as creatures masquerading as humans in the wet and cold streets of Portland.

Anyone with an interest in how fear and fright manifest in different cultures would enjoy this book. It also holds a special appeal among young people in the global Filipino diaspora: eager for representation, shape-shifting notwithstanding.


Reviewed By:

Author Jason Tanamor
Star Count 4/5
Format eBook
Page Count 422 pages
Publisher Parliament House Press
Publish Date 2020-Sep-29
ISBN 9780578674971
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2020
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
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