Dogeaters

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Overview

In Dogeaters, Jessica Hagedorn has transformed her best-selling novel about the Philippines during the Marcos reign into an equally powerful theatrical piece that is a multilayered, operatic tour de force. As Harold Bloom writes "Hagedorn expresses the conflicts experienced by Asian immigrants caught between cultures...she takes aim at racism in the U.S. and develops in her dramas the themes of displacement and the search for belonging."

"As sharp and fast as a street boy's razor" (The New York Times ...

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Dogeaters: A Novel

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Overview

In Dogeaters, Jessica Hagedorn has transformed her best-selling novel about the Philippines during the Marcos reign into an equally powerful theatrical piece that is a multilayered, operatic tour de force. As Harold Bloom writes "Hagedorn expresses the conflicts experienced by Asian immigrants caught between cultures...she takes aim at racism in the U.S. and develops in her dramas the themes of displacement and the search for belonging."

"As sharp and fast as a street boy's razor" (The New York Times Book Review), Dogeaters is an intense fictional portrayal of Manila in the heyday of Marcos, the Philippines' late dictator. In the center of this maelstrom is Rio, a feisty schoolgirl who will grow up to live in America and look back with longing on the land of her youth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Born and raised in the Philippines, poet and playwright Hagedorn sets her first novel in the volatile political climate of that country's recent past. Although in many respects a thinly disguised roman a clef , the book succeeds on the strength of its characterization. Hagedorn ( Dangerous Music ) weaves together the immature impressions of Rio Gonzaga, a spunky well-to-do Manilan schoolgirl whose life is influenced as much by the movies and radio serials as the tsismis (gossip) of her large extended family, with the voices of Joey, a popular DJ and male prostitute; Rainer, a world-weary German film director being honored with a retrospective; and the Philippine's astonishingly candid First Lady, addressed only as Madame, among others. Hagedorn's unflinching view of Manila, encompassing child prostitution, the torture chambers and the slums, as well as the palatial quarters of the First Family, is leavened by ironic, often humorous observations. When the popular opposition leader is slain, each of the characters is directly affected; for some it is a moral awakening, for others the beginning of the end of a stranglehold on power. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This jazzy, sardonic novel depicts the nightmare world that was the Philippines of the Marcoses. Its terrain is familiar to us from the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Manuel Puig: a lush, fantastical, overheated landscape, where the fractured lives of the poor are rendered palatable solely by dreams. Rich and poor, everyone sells something here; everyone has a price. The common dream of a myriad group of characters--bored teenagers, timid shop girls, male prostitutes on the make--is that hollowest of all modern apotheoses, ``stardom.'' A visiting filmmaker, a German degenerate, buys the services of a pretty boy, who soliloquizes: ``I'll have it all worked out, soon. I know I will. I have to. I'll hit the jackpot with one of these guys. Leave town. Get lucky . . . . Soon.'' This is a novel about the death of the good life of the soul: of all virtue, meaning, and hope. Exceptionally well written and emotionally wrenching. Recommended.-- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of Technology, Utica
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394574981
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/24/1990
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction Ser.
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 251

Meet the Author


Jessica Hagedorn is the author of the novels Dogeaters and The Gangster of Love, Dream Jungle, and a collection of poetry and short fiction, Danger and Beauty.
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Table of Contents


Dogeaters Part One: Coconut Palace

Love Letters
The King of Coconuts
The White Bouquet
Mister Heartbreak
Jungle Chronicle
His Mother, the Whore
Floating Bodies
Serenade
Tsismis
Sprikitik
Her Eminent Ascent into Heaven
President William McKinley Addresses a Delegation of Methodist Churchmen, 1898
Heroin
Her Mother, Rita Hayworth
High Society
Surrender
Avila Arrested in Human Rights Rally Dispute
Sleeping Beauty
One Christmas in a Mountain Lodge up in Baguio, Date Unknown
Epiphany
Breaking Spells
In the Artist's House
Excerpt from the Only Letter Ever Written by Clarita Avila
Jungle Chronicle

Part Two: The Song of Bullets

The President's Wife Has a Dream
Man with a Mission
Romeo Rosales
Paradise
The Weeping Bride
Last Chance
Dateline Manila
Movie Star
Golf
Insect Bounty
Hunger
Redemption
Jungle Chronicle
The Famine of Dreams
Bananas and the Republic
Terrain
Luna Moth
Pucha Gonzaga

Kundiman

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Style and Structure, with a less than perfect Plot

    Dogeaters is an excellent book, especially for those who like nonlinear narratives. It is a book that captures, in a very intriguing way, the taste and temperature of life in the Philippines.

    Many of the chapters took place from the point of view of separate characters, leaving the reader to piece together subtle facts to form a picture of Filipino society. The few characters viewed in first person (Rio, Joey), were interesting. Their hopes and dreams worked to define contemporary Filipino society throughout several decades. Those chapters in third person were fascinating as well - adding a keen analysis of the gossip and rumors that pervaded the book. In addition, there were several chapters that consisted only of quotes and newspaper articles. Despite the disparity of these chapters, and the scattered and claustrophobic nature of the stories that each chapter told, Hagedorn does a fantastic job of integrating it all. Jessica Hagedorn proves her ability and gall as an author in creating and managing so many separate narratives, fusing them into a single, cohesive tale.

    The ending does prove a problem, as Hagedorn provides sudden evidence that proves many of the facts presented in the novel as false. This left me with a sense of abandonment - I have just finished this book, but what for? I am normally a person who loves surprise or reverse endings but this seemed to much. For me, Hagedorn's choice of ending left the plot unresolved, and the stories of the individual characters unfinished. I am forced to consider that this was part of her plan - and that it provides an unsettling insight into Filipino culture - but there is part of me that fears that this isn't true. The ending was, for me, completely unsatisfying.

    Dogeaters is worth a read for its tone and imagery, and for the emotions that it portrays. But not, in my opinion, for its plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    Disparate stories with a tenuous connection...

    I was expecting the characters to have a solid relationship to each other with more intermingling. Once I got over the idea that the characters wouldn't intermingle, I read each character's story for what it was and it still wasn't that interesting. I was disappointed because the stories play out exactly as they should given the characters involved. Maybe the stories were too familiar or I've heard them before, but I didn't care much about any of the characters. I wanted to like this book, but in the end, I didn't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2003

    'AY, PRIMA! THE DOGEATERS ATE ME!'

    Jessica Hagedorn's 'Dogeaters' is an attention-grabbing piece of work! It brings me to Manila, flashing back and left me in tranquility with my thoughts rousing. (-: It's a powerful novel, dominating me to keep on reading and visualize the story after story. It helps the modern day PINOY to look back on Manila's past, what it used to be and wonder if it is still like that. Somehow, I was absorbed by the Dogeaters. BASTA, it's attractive & unforgettable! Surprisingly, this book that I once thought I'm not interested on comprehending is the same book that I didn't know will inspire me to further my interest in writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2003

    Attention to the previous critc: You just don't get it sweetie, this book isn't made for everyone

    Hagedorn's skill is real cut throat and edgy. She takes you on a ride and before you think it's over, a turn lies around the corner. The deliberate and skillful combination of english and tagalog ( philippine dialect) better known as taglish is one that not many filipino-american authors can use with ease and let's face it, with spunk. One critic that I agree with poignantly states, ' Hagedorn's novels are as if she had finished writing the last page and throws the work up in the air putting the pages together in no particular order; albeit enough, by the end of the novel, everything comes together in a whirlwind of clarity and acidic nature... some people just don't get this...the previous critic who didn't finish the novel... too bad, you missed out on the ride and you're headed down the path of the 'lonely hearts road' but for those who do, write with me and give props where props is deserved!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2003

    Couldn't Even Finish it

    This book used too many tagalog phrases that I couldn't even decipher from the context. I read one quarter of the book and decided that it wasn't worth my time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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