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Dogwalker

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3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  656 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Tender and satiric, hilarious and humane, Dogwalker plunks readers down in a land of misfits and the circumstantially strange–where one young man buys drugs from a dealer who locks his customers in a closet, while another lands a cat-faced circus freak for a roommate, and yet another must choose between his pregnant wife and the ten-pound slug he’s convinced will bring him ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Vintage (first published August 14th 2001)
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Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
301st out of 2,164 books — 1,631 voters
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot DíazTenth of December by George SaundersInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriNine Stories by J.D. SalingerDubliners by James Joyce
Badass Short Story Collections (Or So I Hear)
151st out of 353 books — 158 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,094)
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Melki
Apr 14, 2016 Melki rated it it was amazing
It seemed like a pretty simple trick to me. My friend Robert would hold the apple in his mouth while I, steady-handed, carved his initials into the piece of fruit with a chainsaw. "It only looks dangerous," I told Robert. "You have nothing to worry about."*

Yeah . . . you can probably guess that this doesn't end well. OR, maybe it does. You never can tell how an Arthur Bradford story is going to end. Sometimes a trip to the emergency room ends in death, but every now and then, it leads to a hot n
...more
Noah
Mar 27, 2011 Noah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Just reread this - really liked it. I ended up reading the whole thing in a day; I think the stories are best when together as a whole piece. I'd like to spend some more time thinking about the narrator...not sure what it is that I like so much about it, but there's something, beneath all the weirdness, that's really yearning and tender. There's a certain amoral quality to the narrator - though maybe that's not right, but there's a certain removed observance of things that anyone else would have ...more
Myles
Jun 09, 2015 Myles rated it it was amazing
This is the most pre-9/11 book on the planet. You know how Kafka writes these really bizarre events in a voice that acts like nothing is really out of the ordinary? Well, Arthur Bradford does that too, except instead of early 20th Century Prague/that dark, expressionistic netherworld we associate with Kooky Franz, Bradford flings us into Richard Linklater's Austin, which, for me, makes the stories a bit more fun. Bradford grew up with Yale money, but he gave it all up to hang out in the woods wi ...more
Lisa
Sep 28, 2011 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate dogs, just felt the need to say that after finishing this book. My main issue with Dogwalker is that the narrator is the same damn person in every story, always behaving in an apathetic, reaction-less way regardless of what's happening around him. Like the author wanted all the perks of writing in third person but while technically still having his "character" do the narration. He conveys only facts and almost no feelings, a perfect stoic, but I'm still supposed to feel something...appare ...more
Brad
Apr 24, 2009 Brad rated it it was amazing
This is the one book I would recommend to someone who wants to know what I like about books.
This is a collection of stories that have pieces of normal life splashed with aspects of the bizarre, the exceptionally unlikely, and the completely impossible. Throughout it, the narrative is clever and crisp, never full of itself.
What if you had sex with your dog and the puppies were sort of half human? For instance. Fun, funny, and odd.
Darin
Aug 14, 2009 Darin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time favorites. I reread it often and have given it to friends as gifts. Arthur Bradford is brilliant.
Scott Neumyer
Jan 03, 2009 Scott Neumyer rated it it was amazing
I've read this collection countless times. It's actually probably my favorite short story collection of all time.
Lindsay
Jun 24, 2010 Lindsay rated it really liked it
The short stories in this collection are so weird and surreal that I couldn't help but fall completely in love with them. Most, but not all, involve dogs in some way, whether deformed, half human, talking, or whatnot. A lot of the stories don't seem to have any obvious point, but the detail, dialogue, and quirky plots more than make up for that fact. Some of my favorite stories include "Mollusks," about a man who finds a giant slug and thinks it will bring him great fortune, "The House of Alan M ...more
Alan
Apr 19, 2012 Alan rated it liked it
why is it a lot of the books recommended to me are about dogs, my least favourite animal? (I'm a cat man).

quirky, funny - I lol-ed a couple of times at the sheer unexpectedness of it (the woman in the iron lung for example) - daft. A lot of dogs, maimed or mutated, but not big snarly ones. Most of the characters are similar - stoners who drift around. A lot of marijuana about, nothing wrong with that, but in the end too slight for me, despite some of the characters being rather nasty. Bill McQui
...more
Becky
Dec 08, 2015 Becky rated it it was ok
Weird and bizarre are terms that keep popping up in other's reviews of this book. Yes the stories are quirky but I didn't find any of them disturbing as others had. I guess a story about a man who has sexual relations with his dog written by another author WOULD be disturbing but written by Arthur Bradford I didn't take the story seriously. One reviewer mentioned the narrator is the same reactionless voice and speculated whether the narrator throughout the collection of stories is supposed to be ...more
Ivy Pruss
Sep 16, 2007 Ivy Pruss rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Written in unpretentious prose that sometimes verges on childishness, Dogwalker captures a hidden universe in the imagination that is at once delightful and tragic. The stories themselves range from the real to the fantastic, but all are powered by a true-to-life depiction of the human heart and the attempts that people make to connect with others despite past failed attempts. Arthur Bradford's imagination is expansive and completely unique. If your idea of a good book is one that stretches your ...more
Rachel Alvis
Feb 07, 2016 Rachel Alvis rated it liked it
As a fan of short stories, I respect the more shallow details/ development within them. However, these stories just seemed repetitive and emotionless, with what I felt a lack of a moral code towards animals. It was not explicit but what maybe some may find humorous in ways I felt a negativity.
Sherry
Sep 13, 2016 Sherry rated it it was ok
This book of short stories was very strange. Each story left me with an uneasy feeling. While some books just seem to string weird events together (and this book was like that), these stories left me almost disconcerted.
Daniel  Dubay
Jul 06, 2014 Daniel Dubay rated it it was ok
If this was just the first 100 pages then I would have given the book a 4. I wish that I never read the story about how half dog, half human family. Other than that, very easy read. It took me all of 45 minutes.
Jenna
Feb 13, 2016 Jenna rated it really liked it
A fast read of fun, crazy, and weird stories linked together by dogs. Enjoyable and disturbing at the same time. A unique piece of writing. I would definitely read more of his writing.
Noraly
May 22, 2016 Noraly rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
great. weird, unusual, macabre but very neatly written stories resembling a slightly darker version of Roald Dahl.
Lee
Jul 15, 2007 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one goes firmly in that category of beach reads for those who don't go to the beach, or books you can read when you're too tired to read but don't feel like watching television, or books to read if you haven't read anything for a while and need to be reminded as an adult what it was like to read (in the best possible way) when you were young. Fans of Etgar Keret might love this book, too. Also, fans of fables. Also, fans of people with cat faces, and fans of stories where people become anim ...more
Greg
Oct 07, 2015 Greg rated it liked it
If Gary Larson wrote fiction, it would read something like this guy
Jon Trobaugh
Aug 23, 2016 Jon Trobaugh rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite collections of all time.
Kiki
Dec 13, 2015 Kiki rated it it was ok
Silly and repetitive, but not without charm.
John
Jul 24, 2013 John rated it really liked it
In the unacknowledged parts of my brain where I wonder if a man with long arms was run over by a train and it cut off his legs would he be able to get about ok because his arms were extra long, and what would happen if a dog could have a human baby what would that be like and what would happen next; in those thoughts lie this book. It is strange and funny and absurd and surreal, but it also left me feeling quite warm as if everything has its place and it will eventually find it - probably by the ...more
Judy Vasseur
Jun 08, 2008 Judy Vasseur rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of surrealism, magic realism, slacker culture
Recommended to Judy by: Jim


The narrator plays the role of straight man to friends and acquaintances who act like lunatics and to phenomena that stretch the fabric of reality.

But it all seems possible somehow. You might find a ten pound slug in the glove compartment of an abandoned vehicle. Heck, if a baby in India can be born with 2 perfectly distinct faces maybe a man can impregnate a dog and get a tiny man offspring that sings beautifully and matures quickly. Who knows what is possible in nature?? It's exciting. Keep y
...more
George Ilsley
About a 3.5. Every story has a first person narrator and they tend to suffer from the symptoms of UFPN syndrome: the undisclosed first person narrator. Who is this "I" and is he different from the last "I' with a three-legged dog.

Actually, to be fair, Bradford escapes the worst of the syndrome by giving us unusual characters who are slightly weird. (The last two stories, which each features talking dogs, feel like they belong to another collection). I did crave, however, an alternative to the fi
...more
Ben Brackett
Jun 01, 2015 Ben Brackett rated it liked it
Short and surreal stories, though they lacked much depth entertaining to read.
Amanda Davidson
Jul 12, 2008 Amanda Davidson rated it it was amazing
Arthur Bradford is hellof funny. A touch of Brautigan in tone, with regards to lightness and oddness. This lightness becomes a container for all manner of stuff; it (the tone) adds helium to the normal and takes the heavy out of the "strange". I think what I am trying to say is that part of why I enjoyed the stories is that they made me question what was normal and not, instead of just adding "weird" elements in there, which can be really annoying. Good for reading out loud as fucked up bedtime ...more
Will Byrnes
Oct 29, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
It consists of short stories, some of which are entertaining, all of which involve a dog in some way or other. Others just make me scratch my head and shrug. Overall it is an interesting collection by a writer who seems very young. There is humor aplenty, and absurdity, perhaps a bit too much. The narrator is the same character throughout. I am ambivalent about this one. The extremity is sometimes very entertaining, but it also seems quite pointless at moments.
Allan MacDonell
Dec 31, 2010 Allan MacDonell rated it really liked it
Due to some fault within myself, I was predisposed to not enjoy Dogwalker. Maybe whimsy in grown men seems embarrassing to me. For whatever reason, Arthur Bradford was forced to win over my skepticism, and it happened. I was pleased to meet him through his stories; these deceptively light narratives beguiled my intellect with their discipline and tightness. My emotional life, however, remained mostly untouched. Emotional life may be overrated.
Ann
Dec 11, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
I read this book six years ago. The story "Catface" and the one called, simply, "Dogs," about a tiny singing muskrat-esque lovechild, still resonate with me.

Comparisons to Tom Waits and David Lynch are apt, but Bradford's stories bring Barry Yourgrau and Stefanie Freele to mind, too. If you have a secret inner freak, and we all have one at least, you'll appreciate how Bradford harnesses his and gets them to play nice on paper.
Sally
Feb 25, 2008 Sally rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't think they like fantasy/unrealistic writing
This was simple and fun and didn't try to use complex academic writing, feel the need to adhere to reality, or submit to the belief that a novel should at least [this many] pages. I found myself laughing incredulously and then bursting out with exclamations about the plot. "He turned into ___!!" (won't spoil it for the rest of you.)

I'll lend it if you wanted to read it, but not let it go forever.
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