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Water Dogs: A Novel

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Lewis Robinson’s critically acclaimed story collection Officer Friendly was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “eleven letter-perfect stories with the keen understanding of human nature readers expect to find in works by veterans like Alice Munro.” Now Robinson has written Water Dogs, a suspenseful, disquieting, and compulsively readable first novel that takes an ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Random House (first published December 29th 2008)
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Feb 25, 2009 Kate rated it it was ok
dear NY Times, i disagree.
M Rothenbuhler
Jan 25, 2016 M Rothenbuhler rated it liked it
his book is made passably good by its narrator, Bennie, who is a nondescript sort of fellow who manages to be sympathetic and believable.

Its weaknesses include gratuitous profanity, shallow characters other than Bennie, little to no character development, and main characters such as brother Littlefield, who we are supposed to grudgingly love but who is just a plain old jerk.

Some rather silly scenes make a suspension of disbelief difficult (New girlfriend climbing into your window with a fistful
Feb 02, 2009 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeanne by: NYT
A bleak, snowy, small town in Maine sets the stage for our story. Bennie is a gentle 27-year-old college dropout who lives with his older brother, Littlefield, in the family's once grand, but now deteriorating home. Neither have amounted to much and have accepted their status as townies (water dogs).

The guys engage in intense weekly paintball games with their friend Julian and three fishermen. No matter the season, paintball is played. It has become a release for Bennie and Littlefield, though
Lisa Murray
Mar 29, 2009 Lisa Murray rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Yes, it was a little spare, slow and dark, but I live on an island in Maine and thats what winters are like up here. I loved the way he weaved paintball into the story: they game, the implications, pros and cons. I found it to be a genuine book about Maine too. There is so much out there that is written about or set in Maine that just uses the rocks and trees as a backdrop and nothing else. Stereotypical "ayuh" characters too. Water Dogs really digs into the essence of peopl ...more
Feb 12, 2009 Corny rated it really liked it
If you have a love for novels of rural Maine, this will be right up your alley. The author deals with a bunch of lost characters with unrealized dreams, living on an island near Portland during a typical Maine winter. Replete with flashbacks, the novel follows the lives of the three twenty something siblings who have never managed to find themselves since the premature death of their father, called "Coach." The novel cuts back and forth between the present and the better times of the past.
I enj
Larry Olson
Feb 07, 2010 Larry Olson rated it really liked it
Water Dogs is the latest book by author Lewis Robinson. I read Officer Friendly years ago and was thrilled to see something new by him at Posman Books. The story centers on the relationship between two brothers, Bennie and Littlefield whom are both tormented by their past and working through their issues while the women in the novel offer the voice of reason. I loved the characters and like Officer Friendly, perfectly depicts the various walks of life in Maine. As Bennie recovers from an acciden ...more
Aug 24, 2013 Pia rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Curtis Sittenfeld, for recommending this book to me. I hadn't heard of the writer nor the book, but this was one of those stories that pulled me in and made me feel cold and estranged, in a bizarrely good manner, just like The Lovers by Vendela Vida, one of my favorite books of all time. Lewis Robinson had clearly plotted this book out sparingly and thoughtfully and I aspire to his story telling abilities. Can't wait to enjoy his short stories too.
Dec 29, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I burned through Water Dogs in one sitting on a cold winter day. Robinson’s writing is straightforward and honest, and his descriptions of places and people in southern and midcoast Maine are true to life. The story is the thing, though. And this story pulled me along like bait at the end of a trawl line.
Jan 18, 2016 John rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-by-men
This was a novel about a family of twin brother and sister, another brother, their mother and father. It 19s set in Maine. It 19s partially a mystery of what happened to an acquaintance of the brothers, and the rest is about the relationships in the family and the siblings relationships. It was not exciting or compelling; it was just a good story of a family and friends.
Linda Sienkiewicz
Disharmony, distrust, unresolved family issues, and undeserved loyalty among grown siblings surface after two brothers run into trouble that may be deeper than they can dig their way out of after a tragedy in a not-so-playful paintball game in a blinding blizzard. An engrossing novel with compelling characters that stayed with me long after the end.
Mar 05, 2009 Sheela rated it liked it
I really liked this book. It was moving along (but sometimes not fast enough. The details of the setting, characters, etc somewhat dragged the story). The novel was set in a beautiful landscape in Maine, and it was about a unique relationship between two brothers. I loved the Red Sox/Patriots/Bruins references!
Feb 02, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Reading Water Dogs was like being in an encapsulated world. Very atmospheric, I could feel the cold coming right off the page and not just because I'm living in Maine and it's winter.
Characters are interesting, not at all predictable, they are at times among other things likeable, frustrating, tender, funny and very real.
Get a copy. Read it!
Mar 10, 2009 Alison rated it it was ok
I read this less then a week ago and can hardley remember much about it. Set in Maine, lots of snow, a missing person. The writing was good but it was missing something that I can't put my finger on maybe cause I can barely remember.
Jan 23, 2009 Elise rated it it was amazing
Robinson took a sharp knife and removed every unnecessary word from this novel. The spareness perfectly suits the setting, characters, and mystery at the heart of the novel. Not exactly a cheery read but a great one nonetheless.
Jul 11, 2009 Susan rated it liked it
Just finished this. It is adreamy novel about a group of friends/family in small island town in Maine in the dark, snowy winter. Beautifully written; slow but steady as a snowstorm. Great characters, and a compelling story.
Nov 20, 2009 Diane added it
Jacket promises more suspense and mystery than the plot delivers. The author "tells" more than he "shows," if you know what I mean, especially in the last third of the book.
May 02, 2012 Maicie rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2012
A group of young men get involved in a paintball game during a snowstorm. One turns up missing.

The ending was a bit of a surprise.

Not bad, not great. Worth reading once.
May 31, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
Completely entertaining--I read it in two nights. Some of the characters were a little unbelievable and not fleshed out but overall very fun read.
Jan 25, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
A great Maine book. Wonderful atmosphere. Robinson does winter like nobody else, using it here for sinister effect. Good characters we all recognize.
Feb 01, 2009 Lewis rated it liked it
Really more like 3 1/2. I enjoyed this book and could really relate to the endless wintry details right now. It wasn't spectacular but solid.
Sashi Kaufman
Aug 06, 2013 Sashi Kaufman rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if you have to live in Maine to fully appreciate this one, but I really enjoyed the characters and the story-telling in this relatively short but suspenseful and carefully paced novel.
Kristin rated it it was ok
Apr 01, 2012
Teresa Carney
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Jay rated it liked it
Mar 06, 2009
Marietta rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2009
Carol rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2012
Courtney rated it really liked it
May 23, 2012
Jonathan Igoe
Jonathan Igoe rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2009
Wood Turner
Wood Turner rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2009
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