Monday, May 9, 2011

Moondogs by Alexander Yates

Moondogs: A Novel

Moondogs: A Novel by Alexander Yates

Moondogs by debut novelist Alexander Yates set in present day Philippines combines magic, action, and satire. Yates draws on his own knowledge of the Philippines where he graduated from high school and later returned to work for the political section of the US Embassy.  His familiarity with and knowledge of the place and its people comes across.   While the persons, places, and events are fictionalized, his Filipino and expat characters are familiar enough that Yates could have written about people we know.   
The lead character is Benicio Bridgewater,  the son of a Columbian mother and American father. His parents had divorced years ago and Benicio has had a strained relationship with his father for years, but following Benicio’s mother’s funeral he’s decided to visit his father in the Philippines to repair the relationship.  When his father stands him up in the airport, Benicio is left angry and hurt.   It turns out that his father Howard had been kidnapped by a meth-addled cabdriver and his strange companions.  When the crime is discovered,  local celebrity hero Reynato Ocampo and his special operations unit nicknamed Ka-Pow is called in to rescue Howard.  Each member of the Ka-Pow team has a unique magical talent which Ocampo learns to harness.  The characters in Moondogs run the gamut: yayas, drivers, and  hotel staff,  “political consultants”  and actors turned politicians,  pampered and privileged kids from the International School Manila, expat businessmen and “exotic dancers”, desperate hustlers, kidnappers, military men, and terrorists from the South.   Yates seems to have captured much of the Philippine experience and added his own special stamp creating an unusual, rollicking read.  

ISBN-10: 0385533780 - Hardcover $25.95
Publisher: Doubleday (March 15, 2011), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Alexander Yates grew up in Haiti, Mexico, and Bolivia.  He graduated from high school in the Philippines, where he later returned to work as a contractor in the political section of the U.S. Embassy.  He holds an MFA from Syracuse University and his short story "Everything Clearly" appeared in the 2010 edition of American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good book that tackles the harsh realities and absurdities in the Philippines and its culture.

    makati condos