Lost Dog, The

by Michelle de Kretser | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9781741756067 Global Overview for this book
Registered by goodthinkingmax of Sydney, New South Wales Australia on 10/1/2008
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10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Purchased this for the Booker 2007 challenge. See Fleebo's bookshelf for details. This one made the Longlist.
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.

Bookring participants:

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.

fleebo
miss-jo
tqd
jubby
livrecache
star-light
frangipani08
freepages





Journal Entry 2 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
For me, an emotionless, unengaging and uninteresting read. Harsh!

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.

Journal Entry 3 by Fleebo on Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Received from tqd, who claims that she has more to read than I do. Oh dear...
Thanks!

Journal Entry 4 by Fleebo on Sunday, December 28, 2008
I enjoyed this one a lot more than the Miles Franklin winner, "The Time We Have Taken", also set in Melbourne.

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.

Journal Entry 5 by miss-jo from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, January 29, 2009
If I'm ambivalent about a book I find that reading the journal entries help - as read I find myself agreeing or disagreeing, which tends to sort my own head out. In this case it hasn't helped at all!

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.

Journal Entry 6 by jubby from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Received in the post today.
Thank you.

Journal Entry 7 by jubby at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (4/1/2009 UTC) at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Argh!

I am drowning in bookrings, and am pressed for time, so sending this one on unread.

Another time, another place...

Posting on to Livrecache.

Journal Entry 8 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Monday, April 06, 2009
Arrived safely today with four (4!) other bookrings. This is indeed challenging.

Journal Entry 9 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Saturday, April 18, 2009
I have to say that I thought this book was okay, overall. The author's come a long way since the The Rose Grower, which I thought was punk. I agree with miss-jo who commented about the knots, which then went nowhere. Did I miss it, or were we never told the name of the lost dog? That would, for me, have made it more real.

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.

Journal Entry 10 by livrecache at Melbourne, a controlled release -- Controlled Releases on Monday, May 11, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (5/11/2009 UTC) at Melbourne, a controlled release -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

The bookring continues on its way.

Journal Entry 11 by star-light from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thanks, livrecache. I am halfway through The Welsh Girl so this one is next.

Journal Entry 12 by star-light from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I seem to be going through a phase where I can’t read anything that requires a brain. I got halfway through the book and decided to give up. It just wasn’t making an impression on me. I get the feeling there’s something deep and meaningful I’ve missed and if I worked that out the book would make sense, but I just can’t be bothered right now. Maybe some other time.

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.

Journal Entry 13 by FreePages from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Thursday, July 02, 2009

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.

:-)

Journal Entry 14 by FreePages at Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia on Sunday, July 19, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/19/2009 UTC) at Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Australia

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

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.


Journal Entry 15 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, July 20, 2009
The Lost Dog has returned home.

Released 10 yrs ago (7/28/2009 UTC) at Pyrmont Community Centre Book Exchange in Pyrmont, New South Wales Australia

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Released on the shelf at the Pyrmont Community Centre.

Journal Entry 17 by wingFlightwing from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, November 02, 2009
Picked up at the Pyrmont Community Book Exchange BCZ.

Journal Entry 18 by wingFlightwing from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Friday, December 11, 2009
An odd book. Not deeply engaging but I did want to read it to the end, if only to know the fate of the dog. Lots of aluring description, perhaps too much.

Journal Entry 19 by wingFlightwing at Crown Hotel/Upstairs Library Bar in Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, February 08, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (2/7/2010 UTC) at Crown Hotel/Upstairs Library Bar in Sydney, New South Wales Australia

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

To be released at the February 2010 Sydney BookCrossing MeetUp (Tuesday, 9 Feb, 6.45pm to 9ish).

Journal Entry 20 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Picked up at meetup (bookdrinks!) tonight. I missed this when it was 'ringing it's way around, so am glad I got a chance to snaffle it!

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!

Journal Entry 21 by tqd at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, January 24, 2011
Tom Loxley has gotten away from the city, staying at a friend's house in the bush, in order to finish writing his book on Henry James. On his last morning there, while untying his dog, a wallaby bounds past, and the dog follows.

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!

Journal Entry 22 by tqd at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Friday, May 20, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (5/20/2011 UTC) at Sydney, New South Wales Australia

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

In the mail today to crimson-tide, who chose this from the Oz VBB.

Happy reading!

Journal Entry 23 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Saturday, May 28, 2011
It's arrived! Thanks very much tqd. :-)

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