I think it’s my first time to read short stories inked by Edilberto K. Tiempo. And by read, I meant digesting the whole story from start ‘til the end. Tiempo’s writing style is prominent and consistent. The author is tagged as a “romantic realist” who “envelopes his stories in a proper atmosphere of actuality through details drawn from personal experiences, unleashing a spate of a kind of Gothic romanticism, while he keeps on firm ground, constantly aware of life’s shadows ever touched by an eternal luminescence. Tiempo is the necromancer writing for the sheer pleasure of it, enjoying the added latitude of creativity allowed by such a genre (as Snake Twin), but never really cutting the cable tying this transport of the imagination to the ground of experience” (Dimalanta, Ophelia).
Tiempo’s Snake Twin is fictional yet I felt it was so real because of the effective employment of language, facts and, yes, imagination. The way he used language in his storytelling is simple yet deep and engaging. Though Snake Twin talked about local legends, Tiempo was still successful in explaining it in English without the need to use native words. Tiempo is one great storyteller—his word manipulation is of great importance in the story’s development.
Aside from the language’s help, Tiempo injected reality into the story which made the reader feel more than a reader. The sets of experiences narrated by the author will drown the reader in the story—as if he’s the one speaking the lines and talking to the characters. As I read, I was reminded of some stories from my family and friends about myth and legends. Since I’ve heard something similar to what Tiempo’s narrating, I felt more engaged in the story. This sense of belongingness and involvement is the reason why Tiempo’s work is remarkable.
Now, combine Tiempo’s use of language and sense of reality, the reader’s imagination will be activated. My imagination was on a rampage while reading each story. In fact, during the “candles along the highway” scene of Tierra Encantada, I felt the need to check if there’s a person at my back even though I’m the only one in our house. The climax of my reading (and imagination) reached the peak when I felt scared when I heard our gate suddenly opened. The noise it made was perfect horror! The reader’s imagination (and heart) will be disturbed by Tiempo! I’m not a scaredy-cat but Tiempo made me feel something’s unusual.
Going back to the top, Tiempo is indeed a romantic realist—he knows how to romanticize language that makes his narration compelling, inviting and real.