Karen's Reviews > Even the Dogs

Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor
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Feb 20, 12

bookshelves: borrowed
Read from February 19 to 20, 2012

This book chilled me to the bone, quite literally: I felt physically cold and nauseous whilst reading. Jane Austen it ain't. Inevitably it draws comparison with 'Trainspotting', and McGregor is well aware of this ("Like, fucking, what was it, take the best orgasm you've ever had and multiply it by a hundred.") but there is no comedy here, black or otherwise. Just an endless desperation to fill the yawning chasm of human loneliness that means that, if we're honest, most of us are probably only a few poor decisions away from finding ourselves in a similar situation. The longing to be touched:

"Same with the nurses, changing your dressings or taking your blood pressure or listening to the crackling in your lungs, they got to touch you with their clean soft hands and no one says nothing about it but it all helps oh Christ but it helps."

that really made me think about the way patients should be nursed, even "problematic", "undeserving", "undesirable" patients. You have the chance to be the only compassionate, non-chemical contact someone might experience in their sorry life.

Because isn't that the appeal of heroin (and I speak, somewhat naively, as someone whose only experience of opioids was during childbirth): that it caresses every single cell of your body? Mmm, doesn't that sound nice?

I recommend that you read it all at one sitting, if you can stomach it. Although I did actually like the first-person plural narrative (it worked much better than the awful 'And Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris), I found that when I put it down, it broke the spell and it took me a while to get back into the style again.
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