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HIS NATIVE COAST is a story of a search for identity. The rather inarticulate attempt of Michael Linder to shape for himself a personal identification with the world that would give ultimate meaning to his life is paralleled by Marina's own search: for Marina is partly tribal, and although her life and training are steeped in Western (American) culture, she is haunted by the influence of her Ifuago mother, who had lived and died in her native hills without once coming down to the lowlands. HIS NATIVE COAST gives the reader a provocative and moving story of two "pilgrimages," one ending outside of the seeker's geographical context, and the other in a return to it: one resulting in a glimpse of self-recognition, the other in what turns out to be a refusal of it. The novel attempts a definition of personal and national identity that transcends geographical origins, and suggests that whether one is in his home country or not, the belief in his own human usefulness in his context has much to do with forging a healthy sense of belonging. In these days of heightened self-searching among the western-influenced developing nations, this Philippine experience offers its own unique insight.
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