We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
In reality, Manuel Elizalde Jr.’s 1971 “discovery” (later proved a hoax) of an ancient lost tribe in the Philippine jungle had nothing to do with Francis Ford Coppola’s disastrous experiences shooting Apocalypse Now. However, in Filipino-American author Jessica Hagedorn’s latest novel, Dream Jungle, they make almost ideal narrative bedfellows. Examining the martial-law era of the Marcos regime through the twin lenses of a bored playboy’s startling anthropological find and the excesses of a legendary American filmmaker and his entourage on the set of a Vietnam picture called Napalm Sunset, Jungle never achieves the feverishness of Hagedorn’s first novel, Dogeaters, but it is no less epic in scope. Still, Hagedorn’s four narrators are able to paint a clear picture of a country in the middle of both governmental and identity crises. As in Dogeaters, the facts and fiction remain stubbornly intertwined, proving that sometimes, well, you just can’t make this shit up. Hagedorn appears with Sabina Murray and Helen Zia as part of an evening of Asian-American writers at 6:30 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Chris Hagan)