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One Tribe
     

One Tribe

by M. Evelina Galang
 

Winner of the AWP Award for the Novel

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

Overview

Winner of the AWP Award for the Novel

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 runs up against 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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.”—Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781930974586
Publisher:
New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University
Publication date:
03/28/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
321
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth McCracken
“M. Evelina Galang’s One Tribe is a bold, ambitious, moving, and deeply surprising novel about the necessity and dangers of the human need to belong to other people. Galang writes beautifully and precisely about the world of her wonderful main character, Isabel Manalo—her students, her lovers, her parents, her fears—and in doing so has written a universal book about teaching, fear, parenting, and love.”

Meet the Author

M. EVELINA GALANG is the author of Her Wild American Self, a collection of short fiction. Galang is also the editor of Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images, which won ForeWord Reviews’s Gold Book of the Year Award for 2003. In 2001, she was the Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in the Philippines where she continued her work on Surviving Comfort Women of World War II for her collection of essays, Lolas’ House: Women Living with War. Galang teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami.

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