Fiction. Asian Studies. In ONE TRIBE, the death of Isabel Manalo's unborn child stirs wide spread speculation in her small Midwestern suburb. Fed up with the noise of local tsismosas (gossips), she moves to Virginia Beach to teach myth and history to Filipino American youth. Isa Manalo walks into the chaos of drive by shootings, beauty pageants, and community politicking. At every turn she butts heads with youth gangs who distrust her, community elders who disapprove of her loose outsider ways, and a Filipino ...
Fiction. Asian Studies. In ONE TRIBE, the death of Isabel Manalo's unborn child stirs wide spread speculation in her small Midwestern suburb. Fed up with the noise of local tsismosas (gossips), she moves to Virginia Beach to teach myth and history to Filipino American youth. Isa Manalo walks into the chaos of drive by shootings, beauty pageants, and community politicking. At every turn she butts heads with youth gangs who distrust her, community elders who disapprove of her loose outsider ways, and a Filipino boyfriend who accuses her of acting too white. Eventually Isa fights back. As Hurricane Emilia brews at the edge of the east coast, Isa opens her house to a local girl gang and nourishes their troubled spirits, instigating change sudden as the shift of tropical winds. ONE TRIBE is the winner of an AWP Award Series in the Novel, judged by Elizabeth McCracken.
A teacher in a tough Filipino community reconnects with her ethnic identity in a politically pertinent debut novel from Galang (Her Wild American Self, 1996). Isabel Manalo is the new drama teacher at a Virginia Beach school whose teens form violent gangs, drop out and speak in a street slang they call Pinglish (Pinoy English). Herself the daughter of a more affluent Filipino immigrant, Isabel never learned Tagalog while growing up during the 1970s in upper middle-class Evanston, Ill., "a brown seed in a white landscape." She took the East Coast job after a traumatic breakup with her boyfriend Mark following the miscarriage of their baby. In Virginia Beach, Isabel galvanizes the drifting teens with reenactments of the Filipino myth of creation and other empowering stories of ethnic identity. Yet she is criticized in the community for her "white" ways and for engendering what the parents see as disrespect for authority; they insist she stage a traditional beauty pageant instead. Her attempts to befriend the vapid, in-fighting teenage girls show her that their lives are circumscribed by tsismis (literally, a dangerous monsoon rain; figuratively, gossip) and hiya (a hot flower in bloom, metaphor for the shame of speaking up). Gradually, Isabel begins to transform herself into a "fighting Filipina" with the help of a fellow teacher's aggressive political preaching and through an autobiographical photography project that forces her to examine her own life. (Journal entries are scattered throughout the narrative.) Along the way, Isabel exchanges white boyfriend Elliot for a homeboy, JoJo. An edifying but overlong work, more sad than triumphant, that shows two cultures unable to harmoniouslyexist.
Linh Dinh (born 1963) is a Vietnamese-American poet, fiction writer and translator. Dinh was born in Saigon, Vietnam, came to the US in 1975, and is living in Philadelphia. In 2005, he was a David Wong fellow at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, England .He spent 2002-2003 in Italy as a guest of the International Parliament of Writers and the town of Certaldo. He is the author of two collections of stories, Fake House (Seven Stories Press, 2000) and Blood and Soap (Seven Stories Press, 2004), and four books of poems, All Around What Empties Out (Tinfish, 2003), American Tatts (Chax, 2005), Borderless Bodies (Factory School, 2006) and Jam Alerts (Chax, 2007). His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, Best American Poetry 2004, The Best American Poetry 2007, and Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, among other places. The Village Voice picked his Blood and Soap as one of the best books of 2004. Translated into Italian by Giovanni Giri, it is published in Italy as Elvis Phong Š Morto. Dinh is also the editor of the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (Seven Stories Press 1996) and Three Vietnamese Poets (Tinfish 2001), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (Tupelo 2006). He has translated many international poets into Vietnamese, and many Vietnamese poets and fiction writers into English, including Nguyen Quoc Chanh, Tran Vang Sao, Van Cam Hai and Nguyen Huy Thiep.