New publisher to release lost Nolledo classic ‘But for the Lovers’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

New publisher to release lost Nolledo classic ‘But for the Lovers’
Wilfrido Nolledo (1933-2004)
New publisher to release lost Nolledo classic ‘But for the Lovers’
Wilfrido Nolledo (1933-2004)

Based in Manila, Exploding Galaxies is a new publishing house focused on republishing out-of-print works of contemporary Philippine fiction, beginning with Wilfrido D. Nolledo’s “But for the Lovers.”

Exploding Galaxies will publish two to four books each year, with a focus on novels and short story collections, in English, Tagalog and regional languages. Each book’s spine carries the year of first publication, so that each collected copy can be lined up on a shelf by year.

Considered a long lost Filipino classic, Nolledo’s novel “But for the Lovers” finally comes home to the Philippines more than 50 years after its initial publication in the United States in 1970 with this new Philippine edition. In “Lovers,” Hidalgo de Anuncio, a jaded vaudevillian besotted with Hispanic nostalgia, brings home to Ojos Verdes a girl lost in the streets of Japanese-occupied Manila. With his attendant Molave Amoran, wistful guitarist and cunning thief, the payaso fondly guides his ingenue through a war-torn universe as perplexing as it is marvelous. With unsparing literary panache, this novel marries delirious lyricism and startling grotesqueries as it commemorates those who had once dared to love in a dying city.

An influential figure in Philippine literature, Nolledo was born in 1933 in Manila. Nolledo was already a published writer at the age of 14 before studying at the University of Santo Tomas. His short stories appeared in the “Philippines Free Press,” where he was a staff member from 1963 to 1966. He received numerous Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for works such as his short story “Rice Wine.” In 1966, Nolledo was given a Fulbright-Hays scholarship to attend the University of Iowa. After participating in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he eventually served as the editor of the Iowa Review. In 1972, he returned to the Philippines and wrote for various national magazines while scripting for movies. He moved back to the United States in 1990 to join his family. Nolledo died in Los Angeles in 2004.

“The book is a marvel,” said fictionist Gina Apostol (“Insurrecto”), who provides a new foreword. “ It cuts no corners. It knows its purpose. Like the best of our Filipino novels, like ‘Noli Me Tangere,’ it is sui generis: It comes seemingly from nowhere to speak an experience of trauma unspeakably Filipino. It marks its ambition by its existence. And line after line, page after page, for me, it was also sheer fun—rereading it, every day I took the book up with an almost giddy, comforted pleasure—the comfort of reading a book that does exactly what its imagination requires and its truth demands.”

Preorders are now being accepted at

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