Stories by M. Evelina Galang
June 13, 2023 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 256 pages • 978-1-56689-679-5
Seventeen stories traverse borderlines, mythic and real, in the lives of Filipino and Filipino American women and their ancestors.
Moving from small Philippine villages of the past to the hurricane-beaten coast of near-future Florida, When the Hibiscus Falls examines the triumphs and sorrows that connect generations of women. Daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins, and lolas commune with their ancestors and their descendants, mourning what is lost when an older generation dies, celebrating what is gained when we safeguard their legacy for those who come after us. Featuring figures familiar from M. Evelina Galang’s other acclaimed and richly imagined novels and stories, When the Hibiscus Falls dwells within the complexity of family, community, and Filipino American identity. Each story is an offering, a bloom that unfurls its petals and holds space in the sun.
About the Author
M. Evelina Galang is the daughter of Filipino American immigrants who first came to the United States in the mid-1950s. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she is the eldest of six. By the time she was twelve, she had moved to seven cities before her family settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The author of two novels, two story collections, and a work of nonfiction, and the editor of Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images, she draws from the stories she grew up on and the research from a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award as well as numerous grants and fellowships from the University of Miami. Galang has been recognized as a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist, a Zalaznick Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University, and an awardee of the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. The American Library Association named Galang’s Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery among recommended feminist literature for ages zero to eighteen. She lives in Miami, where she teaches creative writing.
Praise for When the Hibiscus Falls
“This radiant, fearless collection has it all: laughter and heartache, family drama, and history sung in the voices too often missing from the official record. M. Evelina Galang dances from ancestral myth to imaginary futures with a sure-footed grace, and her luminous characters—whether in Manila or Miami, the Midwest or beyond—urge us all to rediscover where we come from and what matters in the end.” —Mia Alvar
“The descriptions in M. Evelina Galang’s When the Hibiscus Falls never fail. Whether rendering the slightest touch between hands or the raw energy of a hurricane, Galang’s language is in high form. I do not speak Tagalog, but the rhythm of the language is so present here that I believe now and again while reading that I do. These are wonderful stories of families and place and politics.” —Percival Everett
“M. Evelina Galang’s stories are pioneering, lyrical, and full of life. She is interested in the diaphanous curtains among past, present, and future, and narrates with great vocal daring. This is a wonderful and important collection.” —Lorrie Moore
“A collection of rare and fierce beauty examining generational and contemporary diasporic life. The characters embody history, myth, and homeland—lost and imagined—and will break your heart.” —Marie Myung-Ok Lee
“Beautiful and often heartbreaking, the stories [in When the Hibiscus Falls] take us on the gentle and rhythmic wind of Galang’s language into villages and cities in the Philippines, into forests and urban spaces, into cities like Chicago and Miami, and suburban communities we only think we know. We pass through different times, the eighties, the nineties, the COVID-19 quarantine, and we swirl in and out of realities and the lives of people we come to care about. The stories have enough magic to bring us to the feet of ancient winds and deities and into imaginary realms. They are a reflection not only of who we are and have been, but who we can become. A stunning collection.” —Daniel Chacón
“M. Evelina Galang’s When the Hibiscus Falls had me marveling at the stories of American-born Filipina/o/xs and their heartfelt attempts and adventures to remain in touch with homeland cultures rooted in the more than seven thousand islands of the Philippines. Those roots have grown, mycelium-like, and have traveled across oceans and borders to touch the bodies, hearts, and souls of these characters. The stories remind me of the adamantine characteristics of Kapwa and other Filipino indigenous values and practices. Kapwa—this Filipino value of ‘the self is in the other’—in these stories assures me that we can always depend on the strength and solidity of the ground and roots that gave birth to the Filipina sense of Being.” —Leny Mendoza Strobel
“In the stories of When the Hibiscus Falls, time, place, and characters haunt each other. Filipinos immigrate to America but in a way never leave the Philippines or their family; comfort women and World War II, colonization and indigenous culture, political unrest and the recent pandemic, seemingly so distinct and distant, can instantly merge in a moment of recognition; and the characters, both Filipino and Filipino American, suddenly face connections and families they cannot abandon, as much as they wish. M. Evelina Galang creates here a community, a world, and a world literature. Read and be amazed.” —David Mura
“Evelina Galang’s stories take us on poignant diasporic journeys, not just in and out of different countries, but through generations . . . because leaving home and coming home happen over and over, for good and bad, long after the plane has landed or the boat has docked. One journey can ripple through family for eternity. These stories are brave and real and full of heart.” —Achy Obejas
Selected Praise for M. Evelina Galang
“Lolas’ House is the last stand of women who survived the kidnapping and rape that was Japanese army strategy in World War II. Courageous, aged grandmothers tell their stories and show their wounded bodies to M. Evelina Galang as evidence that these crimes occurred.” —Maxine Hong Kingston
“Lolas’ House is an unprecedented work of testimony and witness.” —Asian American Writers’ Workshop
“The strength, courage and perseverance of these women is, truthfully, sort of life changing. Crimes against women are still underreported and often go unrecognized. . . . This is a book that shines a light in a dark place.” —Book Riot
“A raw and scathing exploration of the challenges faced by immigrant adolescents.” —World Literature Today
“[Angel’s] intimate storytelling style will appeal to teenage readers and adults. Galang draws us into a foreign world with beautifully rendered sketches. . . . But despite such poetic descriptions, Angel is an authentic teen, who texts her friends and likes to bang on drums, just like her musician father.” —Miami Herald
“Stirring debut collection of stories. . . . All are told in an elegant, mesmerizing style. . . . The brief, chantlike monologues that frame the collection are as lyrical as prayers.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An honest and insightful look at the experiences of Filipina American women who ‘grew up hearing two languages.’ . . . A meaningful contribution to the growing chorus of Asian American voices.” —Ms. Magazine