Tess Uriza Holthe biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Tess Uriza Holthe

Tess Uriza Holthe

How to pronounce Tess Uriza Holthe: hohlthe

Tess Uriza Holthe Biography

Tess Uriza Holthe is the author of two books. The Los Angeles Times has this to say about her latest, The Five-Forty-Five to Cannes (May 2007) is more like a necklace of glittering beads than any other art form to which the short story might be compared."

Tess' first novel When the Elephants Dance (2002) is a National Bestseller, San Francisco Chronicle #1 Bestseller, Book Sense Top Ten, Ingram Premier pick, Barnes and Nobles Discover, and Border's Original Voices selection. It received starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus and Library Journal. She is also published in the Louisville Review and Filipinas Magazine.

Born and raised in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, Tess lived a block up from the public library which she visited frequently, and from which she held many books hostage way past their due dates. Her mother, the elementary school librarian always had the latest book saved for her. Her father, the maintenance mechanic for a sweater factory was her hero. Always close behind, Tess kept him company on many of his overtime shifts and during their browned-bagged dinners, over the whir of the sweater machines, he told her mythical tales and recounted his first hand experiences as a boy of 12, captured by Japanese soldiers during WWII Philippines. She owes her love of books, story, movies, life, laughter, and practical jokes to them.



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Interview

A Conversation with Tess Uriza Holthe, author of When The Elephants Dance, as she shares about a scene based on actual events in her father's life, and why she chose to write the book through distinct voices of three different narrators.

The opening scene with the young boy being captured by soldiers stemmed from actual events in your father's life. When did he first tell you about what happened to him? What was that experience like?
I can't remember when my father first told me this story. All I know is that he told it over and over again at my insistence. He was out chopping trees for firewood to sell so they could buy food. He was just a boy, thirteen years old. He and some others got too close to a Japanese military encampment. Suspecting them to be guerilla fighters, the soldiers captured and tortured them. I remember my father telling me how excruciating it was, and how his legs shook from terror and exhaustion. He was released, but the other civilians who were detained never returned home.

The plot of the novel unfolds through the distinct voices of three different narrators, and the myths are told by some of the supporting characters. Why did you decide to write the book this way?
One of the exercises in my writing classes was to write about a myth I had heard. I wrote a story which became "A Cure for Happiness" in the book, about a young boy's infatuation with the beautiful neighborhood witch doctor. I wrote five more myths...

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Books by this Author

Books by Tess Uriza Holthe at BookBrowse
The Five-Forty-Five to Cannes jacket When The Elephants Dance jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Tess Uriza Holthe but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Edwidge Danticat

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    Since the publication of her debut work Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994, Edwidge Danticat has won praise as one of America's brightest, most graceful and vibrant young writers. In this novel, and in her National Book ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    When The Elephants Dance

    Try:
    Breath, Eyes, Memory
    by Edwidge Danticat

  • Tan Twan Eng

    Tan Twan Eng

    Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang, but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London, and later worked as an advocate and solicitor in one of Kuala Lumpur's most reputable law ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    When The Elephants Dance

    Try:
    The Gift of Rain
    by Tan Twan Eng

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