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Dogeaters Paperback – December 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559362154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559362153
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This novel, set in the politically volatile Philippines of the recent past, offers the diverse impressions of a well-to-do Manilan schoolgirl, a DJ/male prostitute and the Philippines's candid First Lady, among others. "Although in many respects a thinly disguised roman a clef, the book succeeds on the strength of its characterization," said PW. "Hagedorn's unflinching view of Manila . . . is leavened by ironic, often humorous observations."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From 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
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

So, if you're looking for a great read, then check out this novel.
L. A. Vitale
If anything it fed the typical stereotypes about the people and culture and trying to get a good sense of the time periods it dealt with was really difficult.
Stella's Starlight Serenade
Overall this book is an engaging read, providing both entertainment and enlightenment for the reader.
Michael Steinmark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Steinmark on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
A thoroughly enjoyable book, Dogeaters provides a fascinating view of Filipino culture under the Marcos regime. Hagedorn attempts to define and give an understanding of Filipino identity, how it is constructed on an individual level as well as on a national level. While reading the book, one comes to understand the problematic nature of living under a dictatorial regime by witnessing a multitude of characters escaping into the fantasy worlds created by drug use, a romance with the West (especially movies), and sleep.
While the book can be a difficult read at times, this struggle seems intentional. Hagedorn presents the reader with a fragmented novel, one told by multiple narrators (at times it is unclear who exactly is the narrator), one without a disjointed plot progression, and one replete with a dizzying cast of characters and events. It is through these difficulties that one may face in understanding character relations and plot that Hagedorn allows the reader to identify with the Filipino people. Citizens of the Philippines in the middle of the twentieth century faced profound hardships in the construction of identity. So too may readers of Hagedorn's novel find it difficult to identify with characters in the book, the events in the book, and the very nature of Filipino culture as expressed in the book.
Overall this book is an engaging read, providing both entertainment and enlightenment for the reader. One comes to a greater understanding of what may be called the Neo-colonialism of the West, or the imperialistic subjection of a people to the consumerism, materialism, and capitalism that so dominate the culture of the West. Furthermore, one sees that indigenous culture often falls prey to these influences. I highly recommend Dogeaters to any reader, but note that it would have to be given an "R" rating were it a movie, so reader beware!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gwen A Orel on March 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
First: yes, this is somewhat fragmented-- there are multiple points-of-view and the style changes with the characters. I guess it is postmodern, but that term is so offputting to most readers these days that I use it reluctantly. It's really no more difficult to follow than the postmodern techniques we're all used to with dream-sequences and flashbacks on such shows as "Six Feet Under" and "The Sopranos."
Second: the writing is sure of itself, a tour de force.
Third: the subject-- Manila and the Philippines in troubling times-- is, in a sense, the true protagonist.
Summary? It took me a long time to get through this, but that is more a reflection of me than it is a rebuke on the book. I admired it greatly and was often struck by the insights, the writing, the intimacy with all the people in the society-- from senators and society people to male prostitutes. Because I have little time to read, I prefer novels to short stories (i.e., a longer story I can pick-up and put-down over the course of a few weeks) and in some respects this was almost more like reading thematically related short stories.
Because of my own limited time to read, I would forget some of the subtle clues connecting the chapters.
The book would benefit from a different kind of reading. But it has an almost Tolstoyan scope to it.
There is some amazing writing here-- much of it is very funny. It is often poignant and always, always very very vivid.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By aaron kahl on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dogeaters, by Jessica Hagedorn, is an exploratory look at Phillipene culture. Set during the Ferdinand Marcos reign, the book focuses on the stories of many, seemingly unrelated, characters from all facets of life. Though the story does not come together as cleanly at the end as an Agatha Christie piece, the characters lives are interwoven enough to give the reader some sense of closure at the books conclusion. Disjunction, as mentioned, is the basic theme of the book. We have no consistent source of narration, as Hagedorn employs third and first person POV's throughout the book, giving her reader an intended sense of confusion about whose story it is that we are reading what the point of it is. Through the use of several points of view, and the use of made-up news articles, and of course the many different characters, Hagedorn gives us a sense of the confusion and separation that the Phillipene people experienced during this tumultuous time. We are meant to see the ways in which the nation reacted to the end of colonialism and the rise of a dictatorship, we are given a picture of a country searching for some sort of identity. An example of the disjunction apparent within the text would be the stories of Rio and Joey. Rio, the closest thing we have to a main character, is the daughter of a wealthy employee of the richest man in the Phillipenes. Her life is contrasted throughout the book with that of Joey, a male prostitute/drug addict, who is trying to survive in continuous near poverty conditions. It is interesting to say the least. I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in untypical and exploratory novels. It is and engaging read, and is interesting enough to keep most anybody's attention. It might be frustrating to people who enjoy plot driven stories however, because what makes Dogeaters work is the vividness of its characterizations.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eliza B Brinkmeyer on April 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! While some may complain that Hagedorn's Dogeaters is too fractured to enjoy, I found this fragmentation an asset to Hagedorn's overall message. Through this fragmentation, Hagedorn illustrates that fractured identity that Phillipinos have struggled with throughout history. The Phillipines has never had a strong national identity, and Hagedorn illustrates this beautifully through her many plot twists. Hagedorn also shows that because of this lack of identity, life has become virtually unbearable in the Phillipines, and as a result people resort to many forms of escapism. This can be seen through the frequent use of drug use, and the idolization of public figures. Hagedorn also shows the strong destructive influence of the west, and capitalism, into Phillipino society.
However, a word of warning before reading this book: While the fractured plot definitly serves a purpose, it is quite confusing. The many characters seen with no introduction can be quite confusing. However, if you're up for a challenge, Dogeaters is a profound, enlightening, yet disturbing, read!
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