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Dream Jungle

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  331 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Jessica Hagedorn has received wide critical acclaim for her edgy, high-energy novels chronicling the clash and embrace of American and Filipino cultures. With Dream Jungle, she achieves a new level of narrative daring. Set in a Philippines of desperate beauty and rank corruption, Dream Jungle feverishly traces the consequences of two seemingly unrelated events: the discove ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Enjoyable and Good Books of South East Asia
27th out of 141 books — 105 voters
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Filipino Novels
28th out of 31 books — 36 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 641)
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I don't understand why every single Filipino/a out there isn't giving this book 5 stars. Whatever your predilections are as far as plot goes, this is a vivid and imaginative book, written by a delightful Filipina writer with a strong voice (Hagedorn). The book DEFINITELY has something to say about race, class, the clash of cultures, the views of outsiders juxtaposed with the views of insiders, and the complicated post-colonial world that is the Philippines. I for one LOVED the ending. I was worr ...more
I finished this a few days ago and still don't quite know what to make of it. The author took two notorious, true incidents in 1970s Filipino history and tied them together into a fictional book. First, she wrote a fictionalized account of the "discovery" of a "Stone Age" tribe in a remote part of the Phillipines in the early 1970s. In real life, this ended up being exposed as a hoax orchestrated by a Harvard-educated, rich Filipino who was tied to Phillipine President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos u ...more
Gotta love the Friends of the Library bookstore - four bucks, can you believe it? But what the hell, Penguin: a "Non-Classics" category for new publications? Shee-ut.

btw - Hagedorn had a band in the mid-eighties. Who knew? They had an album on A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth of a Corpse (1986)called "Tenement Lover."
Patrick Limcaco
Every time I encounter ‘grinding poverty’ and prostitutes in third world-set fiction, I always want the prostitute to be the kind who only does it because he/she is merely curious and has a natural talent for it. I want the prostitute to be street-smart, the type who does it because he/she doesn’t want the conventions of a ‘decent’ job, because he/she finds the idea of a Human Resources Department inconceivable and intrusive in the art of making a living. Most importantly, I want the prostitute ...more
Liz (The Bookish Liz)
Updated 10/20/12

To begin, Dream Jungle is pretty much telling the story of various characters and there encounter with two fictionalized events that really happened: the finding of the Lost Tribe in the Philippines and the filming of the Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." That's the story in a nutshell, however it is the subtleties of the narrative where the story is written.

Now onto what I really think.

After finishing this book I was left with only one question, what exactly happened? Sur
I remember Dogeaters and I remember Danger and Beauty. I was fortunate enough to hear her speak at the Cornelia Street Cafe over a decade ago. She gave two responses that really stuck with me.

The first was to a question about how having a child had changed her life as a writer. She gave a very practical response. She said she had to be much more disciplined and more automatic about her writing.

The next question (from the same person actually) asked if she felt her writing was a "legacy" to her
There is that about this tale which requires one’s utmost concentration -and I rather suspect I was not in the space to appreciate it. Delivered in various distinctive third-person POVs, the story unfolds over a period of twenty years whilst delivering a rather longer and more complex history both personal and political. The narrative shifts like humid mist snaking through a jungle and the prose is beautiful. Having little knowledge of the Philippines, its culture, or its history I was open to n ...more
Aug 10, 2008 V rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who liked <i>dogeaters</i>; people who want to read something set in the philippines
If you liked Dogeaters, you'll like this one too. If you haven't read Dogeaters, go read that one first. Then wait at least a month before reading this one (so you don't OD on her style :-P).

Things I like about both books:

- I feel like she represents the Philippines pretty authentically, with a keen eye for class differences.
- The narration shifts a lot -- third person to first person, and shifting from character to character -- so it's very dynamic and you get a lot of perspectives and can'
A fairly confusing book that switches which character is narrating each chapter with no indication of who the narrator is. I normally don't mind books that switch the voice of the narrator, in fact I often enjoy them more because you get different insight into the plot, but maybe I'm just stupid, I do need to be told who the new narrator is.

On top of that, many of the characters are just loosely connected to each other causing each character to have not a whole lot of the plot in connection. Th
The description of the various places in the Philippines; from big city to remote village was beautiful and very accurate. Unfortunately, the development of the stories dragged on, as every chapter told a different story from a different person/point of view. The concept was creative but there were too many characters resulting with too many unfinished stories/endings.
Crystal T
Aug 07, 2007 Crystal T rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like pop/post colonial culture books
Shelves: postcoloniallit
Having read Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters in the past, I purchased this one in good faith of solid writing, and interest in Filipino post-colonial/pop-culture material. I brought it to El Salvador as one of 5 books I've been meaning to read, but haven't, knowing it would force me to finish it. How well I know myself ;)

I enjoyed it very much, whipped through it (interesting, well written, yet easy to read, i.e., no one-sentence long paragraphs) and find it lacking only in its ending, which leaves
This was awful. I got through pretty much most of the book then glazed over the last section. It was a very well written story of various people in the Philippines, with no connection or storyline. It's like hearing random stories with no meaning or point. It was difficult to understand what was going on and point of view changed frequently with no point. I read through most of it hoping the stories connected in a meaningful way somehow in the end and just got sick of it. I need a story, not a r ...more
Hip, slick, glossy, and everywhere, Hagedorn's lofty plot and live wire characters don't quite reach their potential, and what promises to be a rip-roaring story collapses onto itself. Hagedorn's prose barely scratches the surface of what could otherwise be a gripping and heartfelt tale. She glides through countless characters and flits through the archipelago without settling anywhere. More than anything, the reader yearns to dive deeper, stay longer, and spelunk through vital vertical moments ...more
This is my first book by Hagedorn, but it won't be my last. I love how she was able to capture the nature and flavour of the Philippines. This book had several threads to it, and they were all woven together. It combined a lost tribe, a veiled satire of the filming of Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness and the Philippines. I'm only giving it three stars because I know that I lost some of the references as I haven't yet seen Apocalypse Now. However, I loved the way she wrote about the Philippines, ...more
Regina Alyssa
.....required to read.
Tia Katrina Canlas
Rizalina is one of my favorite characters of all time.
Her story is one of my favorite stories of all time.
The way she tells her story is my favorite way of telling one of my favorite stories of all time: in Taglish, simply stated, and through the eyes of an astute and socially vulnerable but incredibly resilient child.
This book started out developing what I thought was the main character and then half way through switched to something entirely different. She shows up again with really no explanation of how and what brought her to this place in time. Too fragmented for me. Not sure what the whole point was.
Hagedorn is an amazing author, combining many influences into a piece about her place of birth, looking back from the American mainland towards a place devastated by colonial influences, and in particular,
American excess in the filming of a movie about the Vietnam war.
This is one of those "What the hell just happened?" books. There are more than a few images from the book that have stuck with me through the years for good or ill. An interesting narrative style that, while not new, is used very well to craft the story.
Hagedorn has a lovely, rich and engaging writing style, but this book lacked cohesion and an overall sense of wholeness. There were half-finished characters, half-finished stories and a half-finished connection between the characters and stories.
I enjoyed this because it is a filipina author, and I'm familiar with some of the places and characters in the book. I'm not sure others would enjoy the story, if they didn't have the same background.
This is a good "Flippa" book. It's about an ancient lost tribe in the Philippines. It has lots of tagalong vocabulary, but the story can drag a bit. Worth reading, though!
I had this book for a long time before I finally dug in. I would recommend it now. And before you read it (or during) look up (Google) the making of "Apocalypse Now".
Rachel Davis
I liked the premise of this book but there were so many characters and plotlines and they didn't really seem to fit together all that well.
my favorite filipino writer. a faithful criticism of culture and country. loving and proud enough to be honest.
Beautifully written. I don't think I've ever read a book about the Philippines before.
Oct 23, 2011 Rosa added it
Shelves: abandoned
on hiatus as I left the book at my mom's house and she can't find it
A master in poignancy. She's spot on with her Filipinisms.
Mirvan  Ereon
Kinda weird, postmodernt thingy but still, worth it,
Looking to purchase this book...
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Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn was born (and raised) in Manila, Philippines in 1949. With her background, a Scots-Irish-French-Filipino mother and a Filipino-Spanish father with one Chinese ancestor, Hagedorn adds a unique perspective to Asian American performance and literature. Her mixed media style often incorporates song, poetry, images, and spoken dialogue.

Moving to San Francisco in 1963, Hagedorn
More about Jessica Hagedorn...
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