Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

There are so many things I could say about this book. The thing I must say is that it is not one of my favorites, although there were many things I liked. The book's premise is interesting: a woman falls out of a tree and dies - there is one witness. The family dog. Was it an accident? Was it a suicide? Only one living soul knows, and she won't talk . . . or will she? This is widower Paul Iverson's quest, to teach his dog to communicate and unravel the mystery of his wife's last day living.
Fascinating. Until you have to wallow through Paul's recollections of his relationship with his wife. The completely unbelievable relationship between this educated, sweet, sensitive man and his off-the-rocker wife ruins every beautifully written passage in this book. Carolyn Parkhurst effectively captures this man's deep feelings for his wife, his immense grief over her death, and his struggle with making sense of it all. And yet, these feelings don't really seem to coincide with his actual relationship with his volatile wife. The author works so hard to prove that Paul Iverson is no idiot, and yet he acts idiotically time and time again.
A harrowing, haunting, annoying tale.
I was relieved when this book was over.
2 stars.

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