Jessica Hagedorn, Toxicology

Toxicology - Jessica Hagedorn's latest novel - is vintage Jessica Hagedorn. Her prose pulls you in, and as you arrive in the world of that prose, Hagedorn leaves you alone to piece the narrative together. It can be daunting task for readers new to her style, especially in her first novel Dogeaters, which is a feast of personalities and multiple plots that tries to imagine the Philippines. And Hagedorn's novels after that novel have, more or less, tried to paint an image and idea of that place, through perspectives inspired by distance, in exilic life. Still, the Philippines is alive in Hagedorn's recent novel, but as a sort of ghost, apparition that hovers above and through the life of artists in New York City, a carnival of grit, sarcasm, desire, sex, pop-culture, and drugs. Once again, it's a feast, but this time a feast of toxic elements, or even a study of toxic personalities trying to coexist the best way they can.