Today is the birth anniversary of Paz Márquez de Benítez (1894–1983), a fellow Tayabeña. She hails from Lucena City, Tayabas Province where I was born. With Spanish being her first language, Márquez deftly produced what National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquín aptly described as a literary gem from the U.S. occupation period: “Dead Stars”. Published in 1925, it is considered as the first Filipino modern English-language short story. It is one of my favorite short stories of all time. The tale’s denouement will leave a shock of emotion, a void in the chest, an emptiness of the heart which one has never experienced before. It is one of those love stories you wish you have never read but will keep on rereading.
Paz Márquez de Benítez is now among the stars of our country’s literary firmament. But her light sure ain’t dead. Click here to read the classic Filipino tale.