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by Christine Engla Eber
Currently Available

Independent Publishers' IPPY Award, Multicultural Fiction
Balcones Fiction Prize finalist
International Latino Book Award, finalist
2019 Zia Book Award finalist
Two Zapatista women, bound by cultural expectations, struggle to express the truth of their lives in the highlands of Chiapas.

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-941026-84-7
13-digit ISBN978-1-941026-84-7
Also Available InHardcover
Publication DateSeptember 18, 2018
Starred Review1 Stars - see reviews
When a woman rises—no man is left behind and a community is nourished. In the Maya township of Chenalhó in Chiapas, Veronica, a teenage girl, is recovering from a disastrous early marriage. Spurred on by a community program of women telling their stories, she asks her mother Magdalena to record the story of her growing up and that of best friend, Lucia. Magdalena, step by step, day by day, summons the soul of her comadre who has disappeared. She tells how, as young girls, they yearned to be teachers. How poverty, cultural beliefs, and gender roles stole away their dreams.

Magdalena married and bore children, finding expression as a community organizer. Lucia’s path diverged radically. Her gift was to be a healing woman, but without knowing how or why, she fell in love with a nun. Distraught, she joined the Zapatistas in the wilderness and struggled with alcoholism. Through it all, Magdalena and Lucia maintained their deep friendship. Then Lucia went north to work in the fields and disappeared. Veronica, with her mother’s help, will carry this understanding into the future.

In 1987, Christine Engla Eber lived for a year with a family in San Pedro Chenalhó, doing fieldwork for her PhD in Anthropology. She shared daily life with women and their families, witnessing the difficulties they faced. It changed her life. Now, as a respected anthropologist, she writes of their communities. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Library Journal
"Eber writers compellingly, and fans of contemporary fiction investigating conflicts between traditional and modern mores, men and women, and political factions should enjoy this one."
- Faye Chadwell, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, July 12, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
School Library Journal 1 Stars
"This is a wonderfully written coming-of-age novel with a great balance of anecdotes about the Chiapas culture and a central driving narrative about tragedy and the lives of women bound by culture and expectations."
- September 1, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
World Literature Today Magazine
Weaving together the voices of Lucia and Magdalena, two Maya women friends, Christine Eber, like the backstrap-loom weavers in the novel, exquisitely crafts a complex and compassionate picture of the lives of Maya people in the highland of Chiapas. Readers will be moved by the daunting challenges these women face and the dramatic twists and turns their stories take. Magdalena chooses a traditional path; Lucia, a frightening, uncharted one. All along, the struggle to survive while remaining faithful to their ancestors’ teachings hovers in the background.
- Brenda Rosenbaum, January 3, 2019  Visit Website
full review >>
Thrums Books
"When a Woman Rises is set in the Maya township of Chenalhó, Chiapas, a place Christine depicts beautifully and with clear understanding...As Magdalena tells the story of Lucia, their friendship and their struggles, a larger narrative unfolds gradually revealing the complex lives and culture of Chiapas. Through the voice of Magdalena, we hear about the community’s painful history, the rise of the Zapatistas, alcoholism, the fusion of Maya beliefs with Catholicism, and so much more."
- Karen Brock, February 2, 2019  Visit Website
full review >>
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