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Dream Jungle Paperback – September 28, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142001090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142001097
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barbed and alluring, this third novel by Hagedorn (Dogeaters; The Gangster of Love) revolves around the purported discovery of a Stone Age "lost tribe" in the Philippines, and deftly explores late 20th-century Filipino cultural identity. Led to the cave-dwelling Taobo by an enterprising local in 1971, mestizo politician Zamora Lopez de Legazpi is as contented as a "conquistador without an army" can be. At around the same time, 10-year-old Rizalina, the sole survivor of a shipwreck in which her brutal father and twin brothers were killed, comes to live with her mother, who serves as loyal cook to Zamora at his grandiose Manila palace. A model student with an inquisitive mind, Lina is briefly happy, but when she is nearly 12 and Zamora takes an unseemly interest in her, she flees and ends up prostituting herself. A few years later, Vincent Moody appears, a captivating but aptly named film celebrity who abandons his girlfriend and son in California to star in a big Vietnam-era blockbuster, Napalm Sunset (think Apocalypse Now). When he stumbles upon Lina at a joint called the Love Connection, he falls for her, and makes her part of the film's entourage. Meanwhile, Paz Marlowe, a Filipino-American journalist with social ties to Zamora's family, returns to Manila to attend her mother's funeral and to unravel the inconsistencies in accounts of Zamora's discovery. With the addition of each narrative thread, Hagedorn deconstructs Zamora's story, revealing the corruption of a regime capable of orchestrating the discovery of a new tribe as part of a public relations coup. Hagedorn hits some notes too hard, but her storytelling is sensuous and vivid and her characters are cunningly imagined; she offers a telling glimpse of the imposing American presence, both physical and cultural, in the Philippines.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Hagedorn continues her brilliant and mordant inquiry into the tricky relationship between the Philippines and the U.S. in her mesmerizing third novel, her best yet. In a wonderful bit of synchronicity, she fictionalizes the same infamous chapter in modern Filipino history chronicled by Robin Hemley in Inventing Eden [BKL My 1 03], the alleged 1970s discovery of a lost Stone Age tribe by a wealthy, well-connected, and untrustworthy playboy. Hagedorn portrays her self-serving and unreliable champion of indigenous peoples, Zamora Lopez de Legazpi, through the skeptical eyes of several intriguing characters, especially those of Lina, the beautiful young daughter of Zamora's long-suffering cook, whose life intersects with Paz Marlowe's, a journalist of mixed heritage, when they both end up on the jungle set of a risky Hollywood movie, Napalm Sunset, a shrewd take-off on Apocalypse Now. Without once letting up on this electrifying tale's subversive suspense, rich sensuality, emotional precision, and searing satirical humor, Hagedorn performs great feats of social critique by asking what is primitive and what is civilized, tracking the fallout from the Spanish and American occupations of this island nation and illuminating the link between storytelling, image, and power. Whoever controls the discourse and the cameras, rules. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dSavannah George-Jones VINE VOICE on July 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Such a mysterious, alluring & disturbing book! What is good: the writing. The language. The sense of place. You can feel the heat. Be utterly squashed by the poverty. Be intrigued by the characters. It's even okay that you don't know if the tribe is a hoax or not.

What is annoying: the many characters, and many POVs, so many that it's hard to keep track of them all. It is also annoying that sometimes a section on a certain character is in first person, and sometimes third.

Well worth reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pinoy Boy on July 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a ride. In short, it was a rush to read Dream Jungle. The characters are fascinating and the environment and situations these people are in this story are as equally compelling. I can't even begin to describe the book because the characters and plot lines are so layered and complex. It is woven tightly though and in the end, everything makes perfect sense. Jessica Hagedorn is one of the premiere Filipina American writers around--thank you for consistently producing outstanding work!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Mcivor on February 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Loved this book. One of my new favorites. Beautiful language. Well connected and intertwined stories. Loved it!!
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By BelleMacabre on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jessica Hagedorn's Dream Jungle is a novel written with close detail to language. She uses multiple language, dialects and styles depending on the character's POV. In the midst of the beautiful language is a character with a penchant for saying "nevertheless," which changes in gravity as she ages. Sometimes the writing is absolutely beautiful and at other times it seems limp and lifeless. The tangle of plots and subplots surrounding a myriad of characters indeed makes each scene a dream within a small clearing in the jungle of the Philippines, the world, life.

Overall, I find it fascinating the novel is a combined narrative of two separate events, both inspired by true events: the discovery of a primitive tribe in the rain forest, later to be denounced as a hoax, and the setting of an American war movie in the midst of an actual war zone. I would love to give it more stars but for all the interesting characters and situations presented, it fails to fulfill.

I read this for grad school with a mentee group. Everyone else had a really hard time getting through the beginning. We all got sucked up at the same point and then the second half, we lost interest. Scenes seemed to be missing, some things were really uncharacteristic and overall the tone seemed to belong to a different novel.
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