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Elaine Castillo Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

America Is Not the Heart (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

How to Read Now (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Elaine Castillo is a Filipino American literary fiction author that is best known for her debut fiction novel “America is Not the Heart.” The author now makes her home in southeast London even though she was born and brought up in the San Francisco Bay.

In her teenage years, she went to the Berkeley-based University of California. She would then move to London and attend the University of London’s Goldsmiths College where she graduated with her master’s degree in Life and Creative Writing.
It was while she was studying for her master’s degree that she made the Pat Kavanagh Award shortlist.

Elaine has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, has won the Roselyn Scheider Eisner Prize for Prose, and made the semi-finals for the Gatewood Prize.

She published her first novel under Viking in 2018 and the novel went on to become a blockbuster title. She has also published nonfiction works including the critically acclaimed “How to Read on Now.”
Her work has also been featured on the likes of Electric Literature, Freemans, Taste Magazine, Lit Hub, and The Rumpus among other places. Open Space of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art commissioned her short film titled A Mukkbang.

Growing up as a Filipino American, Elaine for the most part lived with her mother’s family.

As such, she used to speak a lot of Tagalog and Pangasinense since they lived in a majority-minority community full of Vietnamese, Mexican, and Filipino immigrants.

For this reason, Castillo never felt like she was a minority and they used to get all manner of Filipino food and groceries and indulged in their culture freely. Given her upbringing, she developed a very strong sense of being Filipino American.
Nonetheless, she has asserted that she is not the stereotypical Filipino American given that every immigrant has a different experience depending on how they were brought up.
While she was growing up, her father and mother used to be voracious readers who introduced her to a lot of literature.

One work that particularly got seared into her psyche was “America is in the Heart” by Carlos Bulosan. This was a foundational work for many Filipino Americans and was often required reading in American History.
It was the first work she ever read which had a Filipino lead character. For years, she loved to joke to herself saying that “America is NOT the Heart.”

When Elaine Castillo went to college, she studied comparative literature. Nonetheless, writing was something that she used to do, even while she was still a kid but there was never a point when she said she wanted to be a writer.
Growing up, all she ever fantasized about was becoming a singer, as she never thought that writing was something that she could make into a career. It was not until she was in high school that she began thinking that she could pursue a career as an author.

However, she only turned to writing when she was 29 and moved to London where she enrolled for an MA. She got into writing almost fortuitously as the MA she was doing involved some student reading.

While attending her lectures, she met an agent from a well-known publisher even though she was not looking for clients. Elaine clicked with the agent and they soon got talking and ultimately she agreed to become her agent.
She was involved in the penning of the novel as a sounding board in the editing and revising until they ultimately sold the manuscript for her debut. “America is Not the Heart” her debut novel was published in 2018.

“America is Not the Heart” by Elaine Castillo is an intriguing thriller that tells the story of Hero de Vera who was disowned by her parents back home in the Philippines and headed to the United States.
Pol her uncle who lives in the Bay Area has offered her a place to stay and a fresh start. But her uncle has mercifully decided not to grill her about her past.

Her uncle’s wife Paz has heard of the De Vera family including their secrets and influence but prefers to say nothing about it. It is Roni their daughter and Hero’s cousin who constantly bombards her with questions.
Hero has to navigate life in a new world in addition to some complex relationships with her aunt Paz and her cousin Roni. The work illuminates the 1980s and the 1990s when the Philippines experienced some violent political times.
It is also a novel about life in the insular immigrant communities that mushroomed in the US. Castillo seems to have an uncanny ear for the unspoken pain and intimacies that usually get buried in family rituals and everyday life.
The author tells an increasingly relevant and powerful story about the unshakeable power of the past and the promise of the American dream.

Elaine Castillo’s novel “How to Read Now” is a work exploring the ethics and politics of reading as it asserts that we are usually capable of something better.
According to the author, we as humans are capable of having better engagement with our art and fiction but also our entangled and buried histories.

Galvanizing, funny, smart, and often profane, Castillo asks why we sometimes feel the need to make less than critical and stale proclamations.

We often do this when we intend to partake in vital discussions which can make such discussions not have the value they should.

This work is a deeply personal work that explores the reading life of one woman. It is also an urgent and wide-ranging intervention that asserts the importance of globalized conversations in the modern world.
“How to Read Now” shows us how to embrace a more complicated form of reading and invites readers to do things differently.

The author invites us to create spaces for riskier intimacy within each other and within ourselves, accept complex truths, imagine daring solidarity, and make surprising connections.

“Vinciguerra” by Elaine Castillo tells the story of a patient without an arm who grapples with his caretaker. Meanwhile, a young man is chasing his destiny while a thousand people who have been scarred have to stay at home.
It is a brilliant work that explores aspects of human discovery and the type of people humans can turn into when they realize other people are not watching.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Elaine Castillo

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