Terror, longing, and defiance recur in these thirteen stories about people trying “to live happily every so often” despite the prevalence of summary executions, the megalomania of a once and future strongman, and the indifference of witnesses. In one story, a Death Squad recruit goes on his first day on the job. In another, a drug user joins a Miss Gay beauty pageant perhaps for the last time. Meanwhile, a vigilante mayor disguised as a taxi driver prowls the city at night.
Armor reintroduces, beyond the spin doctors and personality cults, a locality that recent events in the country have made more recognizable. Set mostly in Davao from the late ’90s to a not too distant time, this debut collection distills what turned out to be the beginnings of a larger catastrophe.
Published in 2022.