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Themes, Setting, and Literary Devices

For more information about the One Book, One San Diego program, including a list of events around the 2014 selections for adults, teens and kids, visit This discussion guide was created by Lysley Tenorio.

Genre: Fiction—short stories


• Individual destiny and familial duty

• Definitions of beauty

• Immigration—relocation and dislocation

• The clash and meld of American and Filipino cultures

Gender and sexuality

• Pop culture


• California/America

• The Philippines

Discussion question: How are these landscapes portrayed? As emotional landscapes, what do they represent to the characters in these stories?

Literary Strategies:

• Use of first person point of view

• Use of third person point of view (“Save the I-Hotel”)

• Reflective narration (narrator looking back on the past, as in “Help,” and “L’amour, CA”)

• Present tense narration (“Superassassin,” “The View From Culion,” “The Brothers”)

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