The coconut becomes a mythic sign as it links the qualities of peasant life and the historical origins of Philippine society to its own immemorial travel and endurance of the salty sea. Gonzalez attended Mindoro High School from toand although he studied at National University in Manila, he never obtained a degree.
He is an optimistic man. It, too, is severely tempered by that dark sense of loss and concession that haunts the best Filipino writers.
They show most clearly, though certainly not without a great deal of tarnish, in the generosity, patience, and nobility of the Philippine peasant. His message is still Recuerdo.
Gonzalez, a pioneer of Philippine literature in English, whose novels and short stories defined the imaginative soul of a nation still coming to its own? He uses it, that is, to reshape subtly, but significantly, an old story; and thus the fruit of the palm goes beyond even its more significant meanings, to say nothing of the way it surpasses its other familiar function as a sign of the carefree, exotic tropics, of Coconut Joes and luscious complexions.
Gonzalez distinctively wrote of the Filipino life, of the Filipino in the world. He will be dearly missed. What songs it must have strummed to, no one can tell, but the ivory fingerboard remains to this hour a small monument to perfection.
Gonzalez hosted the first University of the Philippines writer's workshop with a group who would soon form the Ravens. Craftmanship is needed, of course, which is why the Workshop is currently conducted by Peter Bacho, novelist and short story writer from Seattle.