With his trademark humor and sarcasm, Kwan takes us deeper into the lives of the mega-rich in Singapore and China. Most of the same characters we met in the first two novels (Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend) return for various cameos and story lines.
One part telenovela, one part newspaper serial, one part culture clash and one part comedy of errors, Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn was definitely one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year. Winner of the American Book Award and nominated for the National Book Award in 1991, Dogeaters is definitely a unique introduction to the Philippines.
The novel reminded me a lot of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series in it’s breath of coverage and it’s fast paced serialized type chapters. Although I can only remember a few of the character’s names and hardly any of the specifics of the novel – the stereotypes of Filipino culture and the obsession with American pop-culture definitely came across strong and somewhat overwhelming at times. It didn’t help that a lot of the cultural references were a little too specific and a little too dated for me to fully understand them.
Where Hagedorn really grabs the reader is with her caricatures — her over the top descriptions and dialogues. From the hustling DJ Joey to the various rich and pseudo-rich heiresses the characters are definitely interesting and lively. One scene that stands out is when the President’s wife is giving an interview to an American reporter and her stories and reactions and the descriptions of her and her actions are captivating.