Alexander Yates was one of the many wonderful people I met at the craziness that was the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). The onetime Manila resident was brought back to Manila by National Book Store to promote his debut novel, “Moondogs”, as well as to participate in a forum alongside fellow first time novelist Samantha Sotto.
I know I said the same thing about Lauren Kate and Samantha Sotto, but I can’t help it if the authors I get to interview are really nice people! I’m sure it would make a far juicier story if I said Alexander Yates was mean during the interview, but the meanest thing he probably did was insult Sookie, and Sookie isn’t exactly making it hard for people not to insult her.
Anyway, since my article on him already came out today, I thought it would be great to put up the full transcript of the interview with him. A lot of stuff got cut out of the article because of space constraints, so here’s a chance to read about everything we talked about!
Some of you guys may not know it, but there’s actually been a handful of novels written by foreign authors that are set here in the good old Philippine Islands, specifically here in the slightly dusty Pearl of the Orient, Manila.
Obviously, as someone who’s spent all his life here, these books always fascinate me. How do these foreigners see my city? Do they see it the same way as I do, or are their impressions of the city so wildly different from my own? Can they help me see an aspect of the city I was never aware of before?
For instance, Alex Garland’s “The Tesseract” was such a curious thing to read because while there were snatches of the Manila I know, for the most part it read like an old “edition” of Manila gleamed mostly from pop culture representations. I didn’t hate the book, but I felt like I would have enjoyed it more if the setting felt a little more genuine.
Now along comes Alexander Yates’ “Moondogs”, another “Manila” novel written by a foreigner. Of course I started reading it with a little trepidation. Was this going to be as frustrating a read as “The Tesseract” was?