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Publisher Description

“Papa explains the war like this: ‘When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful.’ The great beasts, as they circle one another, shaking the trees and trumpeting loudly, are the Amerikanos and the Japanese as they fight. And our Philippine Islands? We are the small chickens.”

Once in a great while comes a storyteller who can illuminate worlds large and small, in ways both magical and true to life. When the Elephants Dance is set in the waning days of World War II, as the Japanese and the Americans engage in a fierce battle for possession of the Philippine Islands. Through the eyes of three narrators, thirteen-year-old Alejandro Karangalan, his spirited older sister Isabelle, and Domingo, a passionate guerilla commander, we see how ordinary people find hope for survival where none seems to exist. While the Karangalan family and their neighbors huddle together for survival in the cellar of a house, they tell magical stories to one another based on Filipino myth that transport the listeners from the chaos of the war around them and give them new resolve to continue fighting. Outside the safety of their refuge the war rages on—fiery bombs torch the countryside, Japanese soldiers round up and interrogate innocent people, and from the hills guerilla fighters wage a desperate campaign against the enemy. Inside the cellar, these men, women, and children put their hopes and dreams on hold as they wait out the war. 

This stunning debut novel celebrates with richness and depth the spirit of the Filipino people and their fascinating story and marks the introduction of an author who will join the ranks of writers such as Arundhati Roy, Manil Suri, and Amy Tan.

Fiction & Literature
January 8
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

reneebful ,

Love It.

I first read this book five years ago in one of my college class. Even though it has been so long since I last read the book I still remember it. It was a very touching story that evoke alot of emotion in me. It is a very strong story and I did cry =p. Made me wonder what my great grandparents and grandparents went though when they were living in the phillippines at that time. I am glad I took that class because who knows if I would of read this book if I didn't.

rachelp12 ,

She pulls you in...

I've read this twice and it still invokes so much emotion as if I've read it for the first time. Her imagery and her ability to write as three different people is awe inspiring. Love this book.

Just a man11111 ,

Amazing from beginning to end

It was hard to put this book down. From page one, Holthe throws a lot of imagery at you, that at times is very hard to handle. It was probably the most emotionally evoking book I have EVER read. I was emotionally connected to this story, and felt as if I was right there in the story. It s by far the best book I have ever read. I highly suggest this book.

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