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Home The Sunday Times Magazine Literary Life Kawsek enters crime territory with 'Good Dog'

Kawsek enters crime territory with ‘Good Dog’

 

Mabek Kawsek holds a copy of her first novel, “Good Dog,” during its launch at National Book Store in Shangri-La Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City on August 10. (Photo from the Anvil Publishing Facebook page)

AUTHOR Mabek Kawsek recently joined the ranks of Filipino writers who ventured into the crime genre with the launch of her novel, Good Dog, at National Book Store, Shangri-La Plaza on August 10.

Good Dog tells the story of two women who realize that the mysteries they must solve are part of a more sinister plot. It is also about the struggles of a tradition-trapped Chinese-Filipino businesswoman who is made to confront an unexpected monster.

“I had the pleasure of seeing this novel begin in my class, and even that early I was struck by the impishness of Mabek Kawsek’s imagination, by the deep vein of dark humor that ran through her work,” prize-winning fictionist and professor Jose Dalisay Jr. said.


“There’s murder, mayhem and mischief aplenty in this book, but it ends on an honest note — an increasingly rare quality in life, as it is in fiction,” he added.

For her part, author and scholar Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo said Kawsek’s latest book “takes a radically different direction in its exploration of crime.”

“There is a detective in this novel, but he is totally — deliberately — upstaged by two other characters. One is a woman who speaks with the dead; the other is a wealthy [Chinese-Filipino] whose daughter has been kidnapped. The story opens on a high note and that note is sustained till the last page. It moves at break-neck speed, backward and forward in time and space, thrusting characters and readers into situations that seem, initially implausible, but turn out to be alarmingly familiar,” she added.

Hidalgo notes that Kawsek “speaks with a strong, mature voice, and reveals a remarkable imagination” in the novel, and that its characters “Agnes Tan-Lim and Marlene Ong will be memorable figures in the growing landscape of Philippine crime fiction and Philippine detective fiction. They are originals.”

Good Dog is Kawsek’s second book. Her first, Afraid to be Chinese (2006), is a slim collection of simple memoir-like stories about growing up Tsinay. She has contributed stories to several anthologies.

The book costs P395 and is available in National Book Store, NBS Express and Powerbooks branches nationwide. For more information, visit www.anvilpublishing.com.

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