Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain-Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein
Harper, Jun 9 2009, $14.99
ISBN: 9780061537967

In Seattle Enzo the mixed breed dog believes he is different from most if not all other canines as he knows he has a human soul and looks forward to his reincarnation as a man. He adores his human companion Denny and loves their bachelor existences. Denny works at an auto repair shop trying to obtain the capital needed to become a racing driver. Enzo supports the dream by watching racing on TV especially tapes involving his best friend and has become an expert on the subject, but is frustrated with his inability to communicate with his two legged buddy.

Denny meets and falls in love with Eve. They marry but the woman and the dog mistrust one another. Denny is away racing when Eve goes into labor; she turns to Enzo as her coach. Enzo loves the new baby, Zoe, but also fears for the mom as her “odor” smells rancid. Eve becomes ill and dies. Her parents who loathe Denny sue for custody of Zoe although they know they have no chance of winning. Instead they arrange for their fifteen years old niece to seduce Enzo, but he rejects the teen. Still she screams rape and now his case is weak. With Enzo still riding shotgun, Denny keeps fighting.

Told by Enzo, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is an engaging inspirational tale that encourages people to go after your dreams. The story line is filled with metaphors especially comparing life to race car driving on an oval track. Although the in-laws’ shenanigans seem unreal particularly compared with a dog thinking like a human, fans will enjoy this fine uplifting anthropomorphic saga of life as seen through the personification of a thinking person’s dog.
Harriet Klausner

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