Sight Hound
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Sight Hound

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,153 ratings  ·  210 reviews
This is the story of a woman, Rae, and her dog, Dante, a wolfhound who teaches "his human" that love is stronger than fear (the dog has always known this). Dante is the catalyst for change in other characters as well, and they step forward with their narratives: Rae's house-tender; her therapist; two veterinarians; and an anxiety-ridden actor, Howard, who turns out to be a...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 22nd 2004)
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Community Reviews

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This is Pam Houston's first novel (she has done short stories) and it was published in 2005. Perhaps it is because I have read "Marley and Me" and "The Art of Racing in the Rain" both of which told a story from the dog's point of view, that I found this uninspiring. Been there, read that.
The format is a bit unusual. The novel is divided into sections, each with a chapter narrated by a different character. Those characters include Rae (typical Pam Houston female, this time a playwright) her Ir...more
Oct 01, 2007 gail rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has loved and been loved by a pet.
Best summed up by Dante, the Irish Wolfhound - "I wanted her to see that sometime, no matter what we do, the good thing happens anyway....I wanted her to see that the only life worth living is a life full of love; that loss is always part of the equation; that love and loss conjoined are the best opportunity we ever get to live fully, to be our strongest, our most compassionate, our most graceful selves. After all, aren't we all just trying to learn the same things here, about sharing the food b...more
Sep 03, 2007 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: uber-books
I was charmed by Sight Hound in the first few pages, when the protagonist's dog quoted the Buddha. Sight Hound is all about the important purposes of pets, told from a variety of perspectives, including several dogs.

I thought, from the title, that this would be about a seeing-eye dog, but it's actually about a woman who is unlucky in love, except when it comes to her dog, Dante, who is dying of cancer. But there's plenty of humor in this book, and healing. I loved it.
I picked this up because I like Houston's short stories, and the premise intrigued me. But it didn't work for me for three main reasons. First, there isn't enough story here to absorb me. Rae finds a boyfriend and presumably a life, through the careful prodding of her dog Dante who is dying of cancer, but - what I suppose is intended to be the climax is just sort of laughable. There's no clear temptation, no feeling that maybe Rae would go in a different way than she ultimately does. Second, alt...more
Cheesy as it may be, when I describe this I think of the title to another book: "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." An author with novels and short stories for every girl who took off out west from Indiana or whatever state she might be "taking off" from, I have always felt like Pam Houston was my tourguide. She gets me, western living, men in the West and the guys who want to be like them, and most importantly, she gets dogs and all they entail. Lucy is my Dante, no doubt about it. Rea...more
I wanted to read this book because I noticed it had been on the Green Apple staff picks list. I also thought maybe it would be good for me because one of the main characters was a dog, and I just got a dog. But unfortunately for me, I wanted to put the thing down after the first 20 pages. Somehow I managed to slog my way through the rest until the end (I always do this, I always hold out the hope that something might get better, but usually, as I was in this case, I am wrong). The book had its m...more
May 05, 2008 Cayr rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cayr by: dogster dog-eared reading club
Shelves: dogs
This was a truly enjoyable book by Pam Houston. I liked her writing style, where each chapter was told by a different character in the story, thus offering multiple perspectives on the action and plot.

It's a rather sad story about an Irish Wolfhound with osteosarcoma, and his owner, a playwrite from Colorado, who must deal with the dog's illness. It's not all doom and gloom though...there are some very funny parts. Ultimately, however, the book is about faith. Faith in love, faith in relationsh...more
My friend Kerfe sent me this book not knowing much about it but knowing that I love dogs and books about dogs. This one is worth reading. It is told from different perspectives: of Rae, the main character (Pam Houston?), her husband, friends, her ranch caretaker, and best of all for me, the various animals. I'm a sucker for anthropomorphism and I loved the voices the various critters were given. Essentially, Rae is in love with Dante, her Irish wolfhound, who has survived gruesome surgery for os...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Houston has covered this terrain before in her best-selling story collections (Cowboys Are My Weakness; Waltzing the Cat) and a collection of non-fiction, A Little More About Me. In her first novel, she expands the scope of her storytelling without giving up the outdoor settings and failed romances. The debate over her use of multiple narrators is evenly split: some critics think the collection of voices (12 by one count) provides perspective; others find it unnecessarily complicated. Most agree

Jul 17, 2007 Sherrie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog loving Buddhists.
Shelves: 2006booklist
Each chapter is told by a different character in this story, including the dogs and cats of the family. The main character, playwright Rae, hasn't had much luck with men, but her love for her dog Dante is pure and uncomplicated. Dante is diagnosed with cancer, and Rae puts all of her energies into prolonging his life, volunteering him for experimental surgery. The ups and downs of the three years he spends in remission are narrated from the perspective of each individual featured in the novel. R...more
I enjoy Pam Houston's stories for the adventurous, independent characters. This book is not one of my favorites, but I still gave it four stars because I like her writing so much. I do not have a dog (or any pets for that matter), and I didn't get into the whole psychic/emotionally connected canine thing. So, for the pages upon pages of dog stuff, I tuned out (probably NOT what the author intended). I liked the story of how the main character found happiness, and just Houston's style in general.
Maureen Moriarty
I love Pam Houston's writing--I am from Montana and am a major dog lover. I fell in love with Dante the Irish Wolfhound - a once in a lifetime dog much like my own beloved Charlie who was in his last chapter of life as I read this book. I cried many times while I read this book and longed for more time with Dante and my Charlie. Pam Houston writes beautifully of what its like to live on a ranch in the West and the bond that happens when special dogs find their way to us.
Robin Rountree
Apr 05, 2007 Robin Rountree rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pet lovers
Shelves: pastreads
Now, I don't have a pet. My husband won't let me have one. :(
But I'm not a huge "pet person". However, I became more of a pet person after reading this book.
Pam Houston is a great writer...I'm a big fan. This is the story of finding and losing her dog, Dante.
The book can be a bit confusing, because it is told from many viewpoints, including the dogs and cat. However, it is a beautiful lesson about how every pet is sent to you to teach you something about life.
I absolutely loved this book. With the backdrop set in Colorado and even some of it in the San Luis Valley, it made everything in the book that much more appealing. I loved the way she wrote from nine different perspectives and was reminded of Barbara Kingsolver's 'The Poisonwood Bible,' also a fave of mine. I will definitely read more Pam Houston books and am happy to be introduced to her through this one.
Amber Polo
A serious heartbreaking book about the relationship between a special dog and an owner who needs unconditional love. Some reviewers have criticized the multiple points of view (not always chronological). I found listening to the audiobook added a special dimension since each voice was created by a different narrator. The dog's voices were especially delightful.
Of course I loved this book; it concerns an Irish Wolfhound. Unfortunately, he is dying of cancer. Since I have been through the same ordeal with my own Wolfhound, I was very emotionally involved with the book. I actually e-mailed the author, thanking her for such an outstanding book.
Found this by chance in an airport bookstore, and it was one of the best books I read that year. Each chapter is in the voice of a different character...a device that can sometimes be wearing, but it works here.
This book isn't what I was expecting but that's not always a bad thing. It isn't so much about Dante the dog as it is about the people that he had relationships with. Interesting perspective and voices.
Nikki Duvall
If you love dogs, this book will make you sob.
I have recently said out loud, "My dog is teaching me how to live." Pam Houston has created an entire book on this theme.
Dec 08, 2007 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with dogs, or without
A beautiful novel, and a pleasant change from the recycling of stories (amazing though they be) she does after "Cowboys are my Weakness."

One of my favorite authors, but not really my favorite book. Glad she’s still writing, though.
Nicole Jablonski
I fell in love with Irish Wolfhounds because of this book. I have an Irish Wolfhound because of this book. Despite these two things, I didn’t like this book. The book jumps around from the viewpoints of all the characters, including the dogs, the cats, and all the owners involved. The voices of the human characters are all so similar, that I often found myself paging back to find out which character I was on. And, when I did figure out which human I was dealing with, I didn’t like them especiall...more
Sandy D.
great novel, although it took me a bit to get used to the narration by different characters, each with a very different voice and perspective. It sounds like it should be sappy, but it's so not overdone: one of the best narrators is the main character's cancer survivor Irish wolfhound, Dante.

Beautiful descriptions of Colorado and a drought, wonderful insights into love and friendship and dogs and life in general.

Here's a couple lines I liked (this one from Dante): "I wanted her to see that somet...more
Jessica Gordon
As much as I loved Cowboys are my Weakness, I expected to at least enjoy reading this newest novel by Pam Houston. But I didn't. I love dogs, and I am probably one of the most likely readers to appreciate a story about a dog which is told in part from a dog's point of view, but again, I didn't appreciate it or like it. Houston tells the story of Dante, a wolfhound who the main character adores, by alternating narrators in each chapter. Um okay, its been done before, and she doesn't do anything s...more
This is the fourth book I have read of Pam Houston's. Like the others before, it is written in a style that (for me) is easy to read and feels very familiar.

I was warned that the book had some sadness to it, but the part that gripped my heart the most was the narrative at the start from the veterinarian that treated her beloved Dante.
Being a vet tech for most of my life, this really hit home. When you dedicate your life to healing animals you get so caught up in the world of their own language...more
Harriet Wrye
Bold format--Of course I picked up this book because I am a fan of Pam Houston's wry (no pun intended) humor--loved "Cowboys Are My Weakness" and gave it to a few girlfriends who share and suffer from the addiction, (but not as comically as Houston). My addiction is animals, having 2 horses, five llamas and 2 dogs. As I have loved Merle's Door and The Art of Racing with The Rain, I snapped up Sight Hound when I saw Pam Houston's name on the cover next to that ginormous wolfhound.

I really enjoye...more
Nov 28, 2011 Lisse rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisse by: Cleone Brazil
I had read the first few pages of Sight Hound about a year ago and thought it was a bit weird, so kept putting it off to read even though it was recommended by someone I completely trust. I am glad I have finally read it b/c it was a nice read. The book follows Dante, a wolf hound with cancer, and his owner Rae. It is told through MANY narrators...I don't even know how many, but basically every character in the book is also a narrator, who gets to narrate a few chapters throughout the book. I th...more
Keith Rode
How could I not like a book that was dedicated to veterinarians and written by a UC Davis English/creative writing professor? :)

This book was inspired by the author's own dog, who developed the same type of cancer as the dog in the story. One of my vet school professors actually operated on the author's dog, and is mentioned in the acknowledgements. I'm impressed by the author, because I'm a pretty nitpicky guy, but she seemed to get the bulk of the medical stuff right.

The novel was an appropria...more
Deon Stonehouse
If you have a reverence for the human animal bond read Sight Hound, inspired by Pam’s Irish Wolfhound, Dante. Narrated by several characters, including Dante, it is the poignant but uplifting story of a dog who lived big. Dante believes his task in life is to teach his human to love. He says “There are Three Principals to remember if you are to teach a human being anything and they are consistency, consistency, and consistency. They are such fragile creatures to begin with, with poor eyes, poore...more
At the outset,I just knew that I would be crying though most of this book. Imagine my surprise when I was not only Not crying, but also exasperated throughout most of the book.
The story was a good one. Rae,eccentric and an emotional mess, has Dante, an Irish Wolfhound, in her life.It is the tale of how Dante, just through being who and what he is, is the catalyst for change in not only Rae, but the other people in her life.
Now the exasperating part. Each chapter in the book is told through the e...more
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Houston is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis. Her stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. She lives in Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
More about Pam Houston...
Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories Waltzing the Cat Contents May Have Shifted A   Little More About Me Men Before Ten A.M.

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