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"As sharp and fast as a street boy's razor" (The New York Times ...
"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.
DogeatersPart One: Coconut Palace
The King of Coconuts
The White Bouquet
His Mother, the Whore
Her Eminent Ascent into Heaven
President William McKinley Addresses a Delegation of Methodist Churchmen, 1898
Her Mother, Rita Hayworth
Avila Arrested in Human Rights Rally Dispute
One Christmas in a Mountain Lodge up in Baguio, Date Unknown
In the Artist's House
Excerpt from the Only Letter Ever Written by Clarita Avila
Part Two: The Song of Bullets
The President's Wife Has a Dream
Man with a Mission
The Weeping Bride
The Famine of Dreams
Bananas and the Republic
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.
Posted February 21, 2005
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2003
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 20, 2003
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!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2003
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2010
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