Monday, January 18, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Book: The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Author: Garth Stein

The Dealio: Enzo, our narrator, is a dog. Literally. A Lab-Terrier mix plucked from obscurity by Denny Swift, a race car driver famous for his ability -no genius- at winning in the rain. It won't take you long before you realise that Enzo spends far too much time thinking about things. Lining up his 'next life' and pining for opposable thumbs, the power of speech and a driver's license. But not in that order. Through the ups and downs of Denny's life, there is one constant- Enzo. And Denny treats the dog as though he already was in his next life- and is not only human, but a heck of a racer, as well. Enzo is asked to cope with Eve( Denny's eventual wife) and then Zoe (Eve and Denny's daughter, who, Enzo feels, he was clearly meant to protect and guide). And, of course, Enzo has to deal with the usual canine sitches-like his ongoing battle with the hated crows who. just. taunt- all of which which he views as temporary indignities, things to be gotten through so he can learn and make himself a better human. TV helps with his education in this area, but so, too, do tragedy, great joy, adversity and Denny's 'life lessons', doled out over the years of their relationship.

The Grading Session: 4.81 pengies out of 5. There are scenes later on in the story which filled me with agita and anxiety, which made me feel hollowed out. So, I simply have to deduct a few percentage points just for this. However, although fantastical in parts, (at what point when I was telling you that this is a book narrated by a dog who longs for opposable thumbs did you think you were not embarking on a fantasy? Either you buy into it...or you don't. Nothing in between), the whole feel of the story is funny and peculiar and endearingly...odd. I was taken by it immediately, and do recommend you give it a spin. Preferably while it is raining outside.

Lessons Learned: The car goes where your eyes go. Enough said.

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