V.r. Christensen's Reviews > The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
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May 08, 12


Garth Stein starts off with a cliche. A set in stone 'no-no' of the writing school. NEVER WRITE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF AN ANIMAL. I have a secret. I love cliche's. What I love more than cliche's is watching people use them and use them well. Garth Stein has shattered the rule. This book is simply breathtaking. It is written in the point of view of a dog, but not just any dog. This is a dog of deep philosophical leanings, of good intentions and loyal and trusted and true as all good dogs are and should be. But the story isn't really about Enzo. It's about his owner (Do you see? Do you see? I'm welling up as I write this review!) a race car driver, who marries, has a child, and then watches as the life slowly ebbs from his beautiful and beloved wife's body. While his life shatters, first by tragedy, and then by the selfish machinations of those around him, Enzo remains at his side, sustaining him through the hard times, helping him to persevere, no matter the obstacles. And yet Enzo has some personal motivations of his own. He wishes to be reincarnated. The years in his life are limited. He wishes, as is right, I suppose, for any good and faithful dog to do, to remain with his master always. Only next time, if he is very, very, very good...he will come back as a man.

This story, for all its seeming simplicity, is a many layered thing. You have the dog, you have the family, all typical stuff. But then you have the racing, and the end of life issues, and woven together it makes for a brilliant analogy of life and love and loss and triumph. This is not my typical read. Had I picked it up in a store, I would have laid it back down again. But I'm so glad I didn't. It was loaned to me by a neighbour, and I'll always be grateful to her for sharing with me this book, which she took into her heart, and now I have taken into mine.

Enzo lives on. Never to be forgotten.
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