Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Zita" by Arturo B. Rotor

"Zita" by Arturo Rotor (1930, 16 pages)

Short Stories of the Philippines
A Reading Life Project
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Arturo Rotor, M. D.
Out of 1150 posts on The Reading Life, the top two most read posts of all times are my posts on two older short stories by authors from the Philippines,  "How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife" by Manuel Arguilla and "The Wedding Dance" by Amador Daguio.   Even during the terrible floods in Luzon and Zambales in the last two days readership was very high.  At first I thought maybe the readers were college students seeking help with but now from the persistence of the trend and the full country readership I think there is a great interest in these older stories.   They might in fact be the real literary treasure of the Philippines.   If you are persistent in looking you will find there are hundreds of these old stories, all written in English.

"Zita" is one of the famous pre-WWII short stories, written by Arturo Rotoro  (1907 to 1988.   The name might be familiar to you because Rotor was a very well known medical doctor and the disease "Rotor Syndrome" which he isolated and first correctly described is named after him.      He also played a vital role during WWII in the government in exile, was a noted breeder of orchids and a widely respected music critic.

The story centers on Mr Reteche, a teacher who comes to a remote Island in the Philippines to work in the municipal school.   The people on the island are all very impressed by him.  In 1930, as even now, it would have been an unsophisticated place for a man from the big city.   The leader of the area offers him a very nice house but he prefers to stay in a simple hut owned by a fisherman, by the sea.   He  wants no fuss made over him and there is a deep feeling of melancholy about him.   It was apparent he was deeply lonely and had suffered heart break.   He is shocked when one of his students, a young lady, has the same name as the woman who broke his heart, Zita.

Rotor does a wonderful job of letting us see what life was like on this small Island in 1930.   Zita's father, who wants so much for his daughter to develop to her full potential, hires Mr. Reteche to teach her to be a lady.    He gives her guidance in dress and teaches her to dance.    She is far from a child and we can see a feeling being to develop between the two of them.

I will leave the rest of this beautiful story untold and there will be a link at the end of my post where  you can it if you like.

Nancy C. of A Simple Clockwork  has begun to post extensively on regional literature of the Philippines, especially that of Cebu.   I strongly urge any one wishing to expanding their knowledge to follow her blog.

You can read "Zita" here

Mel u

1 comment:

Valerie Sirr said...

some lovely images there eg the sky, an inverted wine glass whose wine had been spilled