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.
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
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I read everything with words on it, this book was hard to read, lacked any kind of flow , and had no real plot. I was just so disappointed. Read morePublished on January 16, 2010 by Briana Taylor
This is the 3rd book I've read by Jessica Hagedorn. Her writing is amazing!
The characters in Dream Jungle are well developed... Read more