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Dogeaters (Contemporary American Fiction) Paperback – July 1, 1991
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Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
strong verisimilitude, despite criticisms re cultural "authenticity".
if you know the Philippines, you will know these characters.
Remember Ferdinand Marcos, dictator of the Philippines, and his wife Imelda with her storage rooms filled with 3,000 pairs of shoes? Read morePublished 13 months ago by James W. Fonseca
The characters are mildly interesting. The subplots grow a little tired and the book loses steam. It's great for Filipino cultural references though.Published 17 months ago by John Thursday
All over the place. Has potential but I felt the stories didn't flow well.Published 17 months ago by Ashlyn
Compelling account of life in a poor black neighborhood narrated by motherless 15 year old girl, with Katrina and preparations in the background. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Christine Cox
From the highest to the lowest strata of society, the novel traces events from Manilla's recent past. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Wendeborg
The over-sized cast in this book represent variations on a dull theme. Except for the narrator, who is something of a blank slate, all the major characters are vain, corrupt,... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Andrew D. Oram