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When The Hibiscus Falls


By M. Evelina Galang


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.  


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.


Oprah Daily, “Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2023”
TODAY, “Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2023”
Ms. Magazine, “Most Anticipated Books of 2023”

“Galang’s masterly latest takes on xenophobia, racism, and other ills via stories of strong Filipino women. . . . What makes these stories so powerful and poignant are the inner lives of the characters, a complex blend of nostalgia, desire for assimilation, and defiance. This is a winner.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Galang’s stories are of the Filipino American diaspora and generations of women who experience freedoms, grief, and community in a new land." —Oprah Daily

“Centering the lives of Filipino American women in seventeen stories, Galang explores the complexities of ancestry, identity, and community, resulting in a collection that honors the deep connections that exist between descendants and ancestors.” —Lupita Aquino, TODAY

“Galang’s short stories brim with family members—lolas and lolos, ates and kuyas, people whose care can be suffocating or revelatory as each generation confronts what Filipino American identity means to them. . . . A portrait of how complicated it is to face the history you inherit.” Kirkus

“Psychic strength was clearly required to write these stories revolving around generations of Filipino women in the U.S. and the Philippines, and the roles they play: daughters,... —Eileen Tabios, Halo-Halo Review

“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