Lost Dog, The
10 journalers for this copy...
From the cover:
Tom Loxley is holed up in a remote bush shack trying to finish his book on Henry James when his beloved dog goes missing. What follows is a triumph of storytelling, as The Lost Dog loops back and forth in time to take the reader on a spellbinding journey into worlds far removed from the present tragedy.
Set in present-day Australia and mid-twentieth century India, here is a haunting, layered work that brilliantly counterpoints new cityscapes and their inhabitants with the untamed, ancient continent beyond. With its atmosphere of menace and an acute sense of the unexplained in any story, it illuminates the collision of the wild and the civilised, modernity and the past, home and exile.
The Lost Dog is a mystery and a love story, an exploration of art and nature, a meditation on ageing and the passage of time. It is a book of wonders: a gripping contemporary novel which examines the weight of history as well as different ways of understanding the world.
Feel free to swap the order if you are going to see someone in person. Also, not everyone may want to read this, since it is a Longlist rather than Shortlist book. Just let me know of any changes so I can update the list.
During reading I had a traumatic day when I lost my neighbour's dog. Dog was found and I don't think it had any effect on my opinion of the book.
I will pass this to the next Sydney Bookcrosser I see who is doing the Booker challenge.
There were some really astute little observations here, lovely language and similes. However, I wanted the story to be entirely about Tom and Nelly, and to skip Iris's depressing life altogether - and even to skip the dumb dog. Whether he was found or not had no impact on the more interesting parts of the story, except for maybe helping them to reveal things while under stress. Maybe I just like artists?
Will pass on to miss-jo within a week or two.
I found it fairly unsatisfying, but I don't know why. I was interested in the characters, in the situation, in the relationships. I even wanted the dog to be found. I guess I don't like gratuitous mysteries. Why make a thing about the knot and then go nowhere with it? I'm not obsessed with happy endings and I'm not keen on endings that are too neat but I wanted *some* answers. About something. Without that, it was all a little 'meh'.
Will check with tqd if she's up for it yet.
ETA - tqd is still swamped, and has asked to be moved down the list again. I'll try Jubby.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I am drowning in bookrings, and am pressed for time, so sending this one on unread.
Another time, another place...
Posting on to Livrecache.
I thought there were some very interesting insights into 'art' and 'literature', and looking at our contemporary world through those of someone who'd grown up elsewhere, where values were different. The Iris thing I found totally depressing, but I think necessary to the tale.
I'm very glad to have read it, so thanks to all who brought it thus far.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
The bookring continues on its way.
This book is off to freepages as frangipani08 asked to be skipped. I’ve been meaning to send this off for about a week now but kept forgetting, so with further ado, it will go into the post in the next 10 minutes.
Found "The Lost Dog" in the letter box this morning, thanks star-light.
Perfect timing, I finished my last book last night so I'll see if I can get lost in this tonight.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I've held on to this book too long after I'd read it. Had to buy more envelopes.
I enjoyed reading this book but the references to Henry James work were as lost on me as the dog is in the book.
Must read some of Henry James work one day and then do a re-read of this.
I like that the author quoted Judith Wright, a great Australian poet and environmentalist.
Also, some of the imagery in the book was very good. I smirked to myself when "Tiny feet fled when Tom entered Nelly's House. In the kitchen there was a morse code of mouse shit on the sill, the sink, the table." (Page 121)
Is that toilet humour? I dont normally find toilet humour very funny but after spending quite a number of weekends sleeping in the shed on my Aunty's hobby farm. I thought, yep, morse code, is just how it is deposited.
Thanks GTM for the opportunity to read this.
It's arrival coincided with "Orange July" a group read of nominees for the Orange Prize in the Girlybooks Group on Librarything.com.
This book was long-listed for the Prize in 2009.
The Lost Dog will be on it's way home today.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Released on the shelf at the Pyrmont Community Centre.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
To be released at the February 2010 Sydney BookCrossing MeetUp (Tuesday, 9 Feb, 6.45pm to 9ish).
UPDATE 14 January 2011: I've put this in the Oz VBB, and I'm hoping I'll have time to read it before it gets chosen!
Tom swooped for the rope, and clawed at air. On the hillside above the track, the dog was swallowed by leaves.
In that one moment, a whole train of events is uncovered. Tom is trying to search for his dog, deal with his ageing and needy mother Iris, and her fraught relationship with her sister in law Audrey. At the same time, we also are learning the story of Nelly Zhang, Tom's friend who owns the house in the bush, and who is a talented artist.
It was quite a lyrical, poetical read. I often had to re-read sentences - not sure if this was because I just wasn't getting them (I'm a straightforward sort of person, poetry can confuse me), or if she was deliberately writing with a certain ambiguity, forcing me to re-read sentences and wonder just which way they should parse...
The language is like her characters, who are multifaceted, complex beings, hard to pin down to a particular reading at times. Nelly in particular plays with the idea of being Chinese, emphasising her asian heritage almost to the point sometimes of parody, disconcerting Tom. Tom himself is Eurasian - his mother is Indian - but has westernised himself to the point of being a academic studying Henry James.
Also grotesquely fascinating to me (because I have met many of these in my life) is Audrey, Tom's aunt. Tom's father Arthur dies soon after they move to Australia, and Tom and Iris end up living in the annex of Audrey (Arthur's younger sister) for many years.
Audrey was always quick to extend what she called a helping hand; and, finding it grasped, to detect exploitation. Muggins here; a soft touch: so she described herself. Debit and credit were computed with decimal precision, each benign gesture incurring a debt of gratitude that could never be paid in full.
de Kretser has captured the beauty and the terror of the Australian bush, but has also captured the (almost unnamed) city of Melbourne as well. And there's one scathing but bitchily brilliant scene with Tom sitting around with other academics to choose a shortlist of people to interview for an upcoming position. Tom doesn't come out glowing either, on his personal shortlist is the as-yet-unpublished student of a highly regarded Jamesian scholar, and he's hoping for a quote from this scholar to adorn his new book.
The plot of The Lost Dog could be quite hard to pin down at times, since it jumps around in time and locale. It's part of the multilayered and slow reveal of all the plot elements, but at times I just felt plain lost myself, much like the eponymous and unnamed dog.
I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this dense, but marvellous, book.
UPDATE 16 May 2011: Chosen from the Oz VBB by crimson-tide. Will be in the mail asap!