July 10, 2009

Literary Canine Blogging - Sawtelles and Enzo

As soon as I read the first synopsis of Oprah's book club pick The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, I was interested. The story of the development of a fictional breed of dog, and it's effect on complex family relationships and history, started having a strange and familiar pattern as I approached the last third of the novel. It is a familiar tale retold in a new setting.

It is not light reading, and demands attention even as detailed dog training sessions make you want to skip ahead to more interesting parts. The pace of the book changes from a slow drag to rapid sprint, with much mystery and suspicion. The interactions and bonds between humans and dogs are inspiring, and not too over dramatic to be unbelievable. I have heard many complain about the ending, but the ending is more like what happens in real life than most novels present. It is a dark tragic tale, with moments of light and hope, and a meaningful ending that can be interpreted many different ways. I don't like to give spoilers, so that's all I'm going to say. Those who've already read it will know what I mean. It was a long book and took me over month to complete, as I've been I little overwhelmed with life, work and play, since the beginning of the year, and couldn't devote much attention to finishing this novel, and the sometimes slow pace of the story at times had me pushing it away frequently.

How would I rate it? I don't know, yet. I think I need to read it again before I know if I like it. Many stories I read, like The Road, are much better the second time, I think because I'm able to pick up details which were overlooked the first time.

I did finally get to this book, and I highly recommend it, even after only one reading. The character of Enzo, and the voice in his head, will stay with you long after you've finished this book. Heart-wrenching and uplifting story of family, love and loyalty, it is a well-crafted story from the point of view of a human's best friend.

“The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, and--best of all--the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach to us about being human. I loved this book.”
-- Sara Gruen, Author of Water for Elephants


1 comment:

Allison said...

Both books were excellent. I found that I enjoyed reading Enzo much more though.