Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dogs of Babel

Another of the novels I read on my trip was Carolyn Parkhurst's Dogs of Babel. I read Parkhurst's follow-up novel (Lost and Found) last year and liked it, so when I saw this one used, I picked it up. It was a quick read and generally falls into the "buy if cheap and used" category. The book did a nice job of examining grief and the way in which it can reshape our memories of the past. Yet, as with the odd Bootie in Emperor's Children, it took about ten seconds for me to know Lexy was a more-than-wee-bit rattling upstairs. It was also hard for me to believe that Paul, an academic, hadn't met enough screws-loose grad students and colleagues to have recognized Lexy for what she was--especially as she exhibited signs of the unhinged that were billboard big. And, who makes enough money by making masks (masks???) to buy a house . . . anywhere? Really. And, the whole DogFightClub-like turn about the dog surgery cult at 2/3 through was really unbelievable and not at all in keeping with the rest of the novel, very jarring and ridiculous. (Remo? What kind of name is that?) I also found Paul's sudden gestalt moment with the book titles a tad silly and unbelievable. Actually, the more I write about this book, the less fondly I think about it, so maybe I was impacted by the narrative's point about memory. Ha! Point won, Ms. Parkhurst. I still think Lost and Found is a good novel, so if you're going to read one of her books, pick that.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Hi. I found your blog like everyone finds blogs, through someone else's blog: Jettstream. I read this book and felt the same way. In fact, it was our book club choice a few years ago, when it first came out. Everyone, without exception, hated it. It took about 5 minutes for everyone to say why, the exact reasons you give. We all wanted to shake Paul -- come on: who puts up with that kind of behavior (borderline personality disorder, maybe?). Then, a talking dog? The whole surgically altering dog thing was just creepy. Two thumbs down for this one. I haven't read her new book but maybe will give it a try.