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The Dog Farm Paperback – March 22, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
In my view, the main character is fairly one-dimensional and has a lot of immature hate for his environment and himself. There aren't many sharp observations about life in Korea and a large part of the book consists of irrational rants and blatant exaggerations. However, the visual descriptions of the country were fairly vivid and the plot was interesting which gives this coming of age story redeemable qualities.
Keeping the author-narrator divide in mind is crucial to enjoying this book. Wills is not Alexander. If you can manage that, and don't mind some rough language (and the occassional editorial error; it's a small press!), you will enjoy this. It is also much better if you've lived/worked in Korea.
First thoughts into my head are that clearly the author knows his subject. His take on it (assuming he has drawn from his own experience) may not be to everybody's liking but that is their problem. Not his. As for grammar errors or spelling mistakes? OK they're there. But Wills, I'm sure will make amends in his next joint. I must add. I read the book, and write this as an uncontaminated reader. Though I do know Wills, he knows I'll be honest here. I'd even like a chance to lash out just to wind him up, but alas I cannot because I liked this book.
It strikes me as honest. Alexander is a vulnerable chap. Seemingly with his heart set on love in some form or another. One could be forgiven for thinking he's a soft-touch. I believe deep down he is. Among his first thoughts on hearing about Korea are that of meeting a Korean girl and settling down. While on the plane we see the twisted, angry side of Alexander emerge. On arrival, things begin to take a turn toward the critical. His hatred for his surroundings and fearlessness in showing it come across as a partial cover for his weakness of being a lovesick alcoholic. Too clever for his own good.
And so it goes. It seems he never gets to grips with Korea. In my opinion he never gives it a chance. He dug himself into a rut and couldn't get out. Maybe he enjoyed wallowing in his misery. Such a trait translates well onto a page.
Yes it is a dark read. Sometimes the darkness is glamorized. A dark read need not be a bad read. Bukowski was a master at it. The structure is 95% there. The flow is good. Story-line is solid albeit a bit harsh. Reading it I got a great sense of his surroundings. I recommend this book on its merits of being a good story, well written and entertaining. I hope there is a follow up. David can then silence his critics and further prove his worth in this rotten business..
This book is poorly written. The "story" is boring and cliche--basically a young man who is down and out on his luck comes to a foreign country, drinks himself into a stupor everyday, prowls for women, and then wonders why his life is such a mess--and I could have probably turned a blind eye to this had the author done anything to thoughtfully and/or intelligently comment on life in South Korea.
The author was clearly embittered by his time in Daegu, and if his time was spend anything like the way of the book's protagonist, then I'm not surprised as to why. I found it intolerable for the protagonist to constantly accuse Koreans of being "dumb, stupid, morons, racist, etc," especially because the main character himself appears to be all of these things. The protagonist, Alexander, never gives Korean culture a chance, aside from hunting for Korean women, who he continually refers to as "bitches" or "dumb bitches".
I'm not even sure why I finished the book. If anyone is thinking about reading this expecting to learn something about an ESL teacher's life in Korea, please reconsider. This story was so dull and uninformed--in terms of what it is actually like to teach in Korea--that it could have taken place anywhere. There's a much better book called "Dispatches From the Peninsula". Id recommend reading that one instead.
Finally, whoever has the audacity to compare this novel and it's author to writers like Ginsberg, Thompson, Kerouac, etc. should go back and read through those authors again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Dog Farm is a strange animal and David S Wills' has made its pages the cages. Having known David personally a number of years ago in the mire and degradation of Scotland, I... Read morePublished on November 21, 2011 by Omar Zingaro Bhatia
I was not impressed. Imagine an extremely depressed alcoholic reveling in his own regurgitated, drunken epiphanies. Read morePublished on November 2, 2011 by JWH
I am still in Korea as an expat English teacher, and I have experience in the academy scene Willis describes, though I was grateful to get out of that and into the university scene... Read morePublished on November 1, 2011 by M. Raymond
Please note that portions of this review were taken from my blog post on Chris in South Korea.
If you're the sort that enjoys fiction for the plot, the basic premise... Read more
Badly written, not proofread or edited, full of inaccuracies about how Koreans speak, and what Korea looks like. It's his lack of attention to detail that's bothering me the most. Read morePublished on October 20, 2011 by Mick
i really enjoyed reading The Dog Farm. i have been reading Beat authors since the 1960s and it is nice to read a new book that carries on the spirit of Beat Culture without... Read morePublished on October 18, 2011 by mr seigel
This is a guy who refers to Koreans as "rice-tards" and "peasants." Basically, it's The Turner Diaries for drunken racists. Read morePublished on October 17, 2011 by James