Back and Forth is a collection of four short stories that explore cultural elements of the Philippines through folktales, magic, and loss. Each story features main characters that are discovering how to navigate through life after something jarring happens to them. In learning how to move on, they learn more about themselves, their culture, and their identity. In “Back and Forth,” the main character, Lita, learns about the magic of the world and how she herself possesses it, something that is passed down from her grandmother. However, she is forced to hide it away if she wants to live a normal life. When her aunt starts acting weird, it’s up to Lita to race against time and relearn the magic within. “The Viewing,” takes place in the United States, and the main character, Diwata, is a biracial woman that has to maneuver her way through a viewing for one of her favorite relatives while also being confronted by the brashness of white relatives that don’t appreciate her being a part of their family. Tala, the main character of “The Mound Dwellers,” must turn to an old legend that she had learned as a child to find her own daughter that has gone missing. Only after finally giving in and listening to her mother about what she suspects happened, does Tala begin to make progress. “Snowed In” is about a woman who is getting over the loss of her husband. She works through the grief by cooking his favorite recipe, a traditional Filipino dish, over and over again. Each time she finishes, it’s not quite right. By the end of the story, she finally perfects the recipe, and there’s nothing left for her to do but deal with her grief head-on. Each story, though not related to each other directly, features characters that have to unravel the mystery of their new identities after a major life change.