A luminous collection of heartbreaking, startling, and gloriously unique stories set amongst the Filipino communities of California and the Philippines—now with a new preface by the author


Monstress stands as a landmark of American multicultural short fiction. Lysley Tenorio’s tales are framed by tense, fascinating dichotomies: tenderness and power, the fantastical and the realistic, pop culture and high culture, the American and the Filipino. Tenorio balances these opposites with rare skill, humor, and deep understanding, exploring universal themes—the sometimes-suffocating ties of family, the melancholy of isolation, the need to find connections—with uncommon empathy and breathtaking originality.


“Tenorio, born in the Philippines and raised in California, has taken a uniquely Filipino-American perspective, polyglot and glittering with cinema dreams, and used it to make a bold collection of stories of the rejected, the helpless and the lost. Monstress is the debut of a singular talent.” -NPR.org


“[An] intimate and admirably controlled debut story collection… [Monstress is] an introduction to a promising writer who knows how to get a reader’s attention....Tenorio has a great knack for striking story premises… [and] cultivates a plainspoken (but not blunt) style that recalls Tobias Wolff.” -Kirkus Reviews


“Complex, and powerful....This first collection introduces a writer of great promise, whose stories can illustrate tenderness at one minute and human cruelty not much later. Tenorio’s writing is immediate, visceral even....[A] vital addition for short-fiction collections [and] readers of Junot Diaz, Chang-Rae Lee, and Jessica Hagedorn.” -Booklist

Monstress: Stories by Lysley Tenorio

  • Ecco 2020

    New paperback

    240 pages