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When the Elephants Dance

Born in 1966 to immigrant parents in San Francisco, Tess Uriza Holthe grew up hearing stories that brought her Filipino heritage to life. After graduating from Golden Gate University, Holthe worked as an accountant. She began writing what would become When the Elephants Dance, her first novel, during lunch breaks, evenings, and weekends, while still working full-time as a controller. The book was partly inspired by the experience of her father, who lived in the Philippines during World War II. Although Holthe had never been to the Philippines before writing the book, she succeeds in vividly evoking the country. She attributes this to the stories of her father and grandmother and to the constant flow of Filipino visitors to her family's house for mah-jongg games, church meetings, and reminiscences. On these occasions, she heard stories about forest elves and superstitions against whistling at night, as well as stories about World War II and surviving the battle for Manila in 1945. Holthe currently lives in northern California with her husband, Jason.

And our Philippine Islands? We are the small chickens. shaking the trees and trumpeting loudly. and medicine. and children put their hopes and dreams on hold as they wait out the old Spaniard Summary: "Papa explains the war like this: ‘When the elephants dance. how they must find hope for survival where none seems to exist. magical and true to life.a Japanese Filipino citizen. Japanese soldiers round up and interrogate innocent people. these men. When the Elephants Danceintroduces us to the incandescent voice of Tess Uriza Holthe. a passionate guerilla commander. as the Japanese and the Americans engage in a fierce battle for possession of the Philippine Islands.a guerilla commander (third narrator)  Felician o. water. and courageous Filipinos who changed the course of history with their actions. his spirited older sister Isabelle.a thirteen-year-old boy (first narrator)  Isabelle Karangalan .Characters:  Alejandro Karangalan . pass the time. women. mother  Aling Ana  Mang Pedro  Tay Fredrico . Inside the cellar. The group is held spellbound by these stories. Outside the safety of their little refuge the war rages on---fiery bombs torch the beautiful Filipino countryside. Crowded together in the cellar. They find this hope in the dramatic history of the Philippine Islands and the passion and bravery of its people. and from the hills guerillas wage a desperate campaign against the enemy. are the Amerikanos and the Japanese as they fight. we see how ordinary people must learn to live in the midst of extraordinary uncertainty. supernatural creatures. the Karangalans and their friends and neighbors tell magical stories to one another based on Filipino myth and legend to fuel their courage. who sets her remarkable first novel in the waning days of World War II.Alejandro's older sister (second narrator)  Domingo Matapang . These profoundly moving stories transport the listeners from the chaos of the war around them and give them new resolve to fight on. the chickens must be careful. only emerging to look for food. Through the eyes of three narrators. and Domingo.' The great beasts. witches. as they circle one another." Once in a great while comes a storyteller who can illuminate worlds large and small. The Karangalan family and their neighbors huddle for survival in the cellar of a house a few miles from Manila. which feature a dazzling array of ghosts. .a "collaborator"  Yukino Yoshi . thirteen-year-old Alejandro Karangalan. and teach important lessons.

Domingo and their community fight for survival. This stunning debut novel is the first to celebrate in such richness and depth the spirit of the Filipino people and their fascinating story and marks the introduction of a talented new author who will join the ranks of writers such as Arundhati Roy. and Amy Tan. we can learn how an ordinary people must earn to live in the midst of extraordinary uncertainty. . Isabelle. brave and great a human can be finding hope where none seems to exist.With When the Elephants Dance Holthe has not only written a gripping narrative of how Alejandro. Moral Lesson: From this book. her grandmother. It tells how passionate. The stories shared by her characters are based on the same tales handed down to Holthe from her Filipino father and lola. It also tells us that even a small action can be huge especially in changing the future and influencing others. Manil Suri. but a loving tribute to the magical realism that infuses Filipino culture.

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