In Photo: Book covers of Slivers of the Sky: Catholic Literary Readings and other Essays (UST Publishing House) and Lait Chronicles (Visprint).

By Beatriz Decena and Jan Darnel Domalanta

Heaven and hell came together as two professors from the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies officially launched by their books at the 5th UST Authors Series.

With the program on November 18 titled “Langit at Lait: Catholic Literary Criticism and Social Critique”, students from Literature and Journalism courses were introduced to two differently themed books with the same general idea: criticism.

Ma. Ailil Alvarez wrote the book titled “Slivers of the Sky: Catholic Literary Readings and other Essays” which is about critiquing and analyzing works with Catholicism in mind. On the other end of the spectrum, John Jack Wigley compiled various life experiences in his book “Lait Chronicles” that include a kind of criticism locally known as “panlalait.”

“Both work elaborated on the essay form. One personal, the other formal. One creative, the other critical. While Dr. Wigley’s is earthly and funny, Miss Alvarez’  is serious and celebral,” Professor Joyce Arriola of the Department of Literature said.

Slivers of the Sky

Alvarez compiled her eight critiques on Western novels and films in the book “Slivers of the Sky: Catholic Literary Readings and other Essays.”

Her first four entries were titled Speculations at the Soul, Love, just Beyond his Grasp, Dealing with the Devil  and Saving One’s Soul, and The Spirituality of Pain.

Other critiques include Sanctifying the Secular, The Subservient/Subversive Self, Joys and the Chimeric Gaze, and Lyric Poetry in Pixel.

Inspired by her Catholic upbringing, Alvarez constructed the essays in a Catholic perspective.

Lait Chronicles

While Alvarez’ book is a serious commentary on selected literary pieces, Wigley, the author of “Lait Chronicles,” said that his book is the “cheap” version of criticism. But despite the humor and negative commentaries, Wigley said that the entries are reflections of the Philippine society and the people within it.

The book is a compilation of Wigley’s experiences on judging or “panlalait”. His stories contain tales wherein he is either the one who judges others or the one who is being judged.

The book has four distinct sections: The Transit Diaries,The Estudyante Journals, The Kasambahay Reporter, and The Miscellaneous Archives.

Contrary to his two previous memoirs, Wigley attempted to create a non-fiction story in a different style.

The Slivers of the Sky was published under the UST publishing house while Lait Chronicles was under Visprint.

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