Both playful and serious, this audacious riff on ethnic and sexual identity by Hawaiian-Hakka Chinese-American writer Carolyn Lei-lanilau revolves around the persona she calls “Ono Ono Girl,” an icon that interweaves and transcends Lucille Ball, Little Lulu, Tina Turner, and Spottie Dottie. Challenging assumptions about genre and gender, and acting out the notion that language is a function of the body, these essays are transforming soundbytes of Ono Ono Girl inventing herself.
“Just when you thought American literature was canonized and commodified beyond saving, Carolyn Lei-lanilau’s intertextual, irreverent work, Ono Ono Girl’s Hula, brings language and philosophy back to the table. Her book is a miracle delivery: a rebirth of poetry, Third World Spam, and love wrapped around the hybrid vigor of Hawaiian, Hakka, French, Latin, and English. Soulful, powerful, and wise.”—Russell Leong, editor of Amerasia Journal
“A book enjoyable equally for its fun as for its profundity, Carolyn Lei-lanilau’s Ono Ono Girl’s Hula is irresistible must reading for feminists, anthropologists, contemporary culture buffs, and anyone who wants a refreshing take on some of our more vexing current disputes. Down-to-earth and poetic, serious and hilarious at once, her unconventional voice invites the reader to understand the paradoxes of identity—sexual and ethnic—in new ways.”—Robin Lakoff, author of Talking Power