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Dogwalker

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  759 ratings  ·  115 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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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  759 ratings  ·  115 reviews


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Will Byrnes
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Dogwalker is a collection of short stories, some of which are entertaining, and all of which involve a pooch. Some were pretty good. Others just make me stare, while rotating my head this way and that, wondering what was going on. Overall, it was an interesting collection by a writer who seemed very young. The book was published in 2001. The author was born in 1969. Many of the stories here, maybe all, were written while Bradford was in his twenties. There is humor aplenty, and absurdity, ...more
Melki
Jun 20, 2012 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
...more
Helen Power

Dogwalker is an off-beat collection of short stories that share a similar tone and style. While some of the stories are realistic and others are outright outlandish, they feel like they could all be set in the same world—one that mirrors our own, but is a little warped, like we’re looking through a funhouse mirror and something isn’t quite right. Some of the stories are ridiculous (dogs giving birth to babies?!), which makes for an entertaining read.

I appreciated the absolute strangeness of each
...more
Noah
Nov 23, 2007 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
Marvin
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
This was a rough one for me. These stories rely too often on shock and absurdity; they run to the weird and the gross and the cruel but fail to build that core of humanity or underlying meaning that makes the reader really care what ultimately comes of the lousy and/or bizarre situations in which characters find themselves. We never arrive at the heart of things; it's all deflection. Weird stuff happens; some more weird stuff happens; the end.
Lisa
Aug 06, 2010 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 ...more
Myles
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
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 ...more
Brad
Apr 24, 2009 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 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 rated it it was amazing
I've read this collection countless times. It's actually probably my favorite short story collection of all time.
David
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Would have been one star had I not chuckled mildly a few times while reading. Think of my rating as a rounded-up 1.5.

I want fiction like this to have some sort of accurate genre tag—Flippant Lit, perhaps? These stories gave me the same shivers of discomfort (and rage? fear? nausea? claustrophobia?) that I get reading the literary abortions of Miranda July. They’re at once silly and smug, the ultimate hipster combination. That David Sedaris, Zadie Smith, and David freakin’ Foster Wallace all
...more
Shalyn
Jul 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I wanted to like this book, but I found nothing in it worth reading. The stories are told in the voice of a simpleton and have all the senselessness of a fairy tale but with none of the purposefulness of conveying a message of any kind. Based on other reviews, I thought at the very least this would be a collection of stories with dogs, but not all of the stories have dogs in them, and in the stories where dogs are included, they are treated very poorly. I don't recommend this book for anyone, ...more
Mlhoganjr
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have never read a book of short stories like Dogwalker. It is in a class completely of its own: full of mutants, strange slacker characters, kidnappings, and lots of dogs and a few dog-human hybrids. It's science/literary/stoner fiction. Bradford writes from a point of view and in a style that calmly navigates the bizarre, scary, and sometimes gravely immoral people populating this book. It is anchored in a certain time and place that fit the themes: Austin, TX and surrounding areas in the 90s ...more
Andy
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this collection of hilarious and odd stories. I’m also a big fan of the author’s other collection Turtleface. Arthur Bradford’s stories elicit from me a strange little scratchy he-he-he laugh like Ernie from Sesame Street. One of his most impressive accomplishments as a writer is creating this unique state of reality in his stories in which the everyday and humdrum mix seamlessly with the completely absurd.
Ysaac Keith
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Awesome collection of short stories that will all inevitably leave you thinking "What the hell am I reading?" The common theme that strings them all together invariably shocks the reader into desensitization, and suddenly you find yourself relating with the narrator more than you would like. "This is insane...but let's move on." Insanity becomes the new normal, and that's just fun.
Christine Bradshaw
I had to abandon this. I liked the cadence of the writing, but the stories were too strange for me at this time. Not sure what to think about the themes of the short stories... too weird. Maybe for another time in my life???
Ktbird
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a weird book. Got it from a little library. The stories feature people who live on the fringes of society and reality. The dogs don't always stay in their predictable role. I think this book will haunt me for awhile.
Peter Rock
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"You can't say there isn't weirdness in these stories," my mother just said.

Full disclosure: My brother-in-law wrote this book. I remember reading the stories for the first time. Pure pleasure.
Kathi
Aug 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a bizarre book that I thought would be stories about dogs. While some of the tales had dogs in them, the dogs were usually abused or killed or some other gross, weirdness was going on with them.
Jill
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Laugh out loud crazy, but not for everyone.
BarbaraW
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Very weird little book. Reminds one of Steven King short stories.
Ro Hart
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a short read. The weirdest, endearing tales about a bunch of young ones just doing their thing and mostly getting it wrong......
Rob
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mediocre collection of immediately forgettable short vignettes.
Matt Brown
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Catface and Chainsaw Apple were great and had me laughing pretty hard. Mollusks, Mattress, and Bill McQuill were some of my other favorites. a very enjoyable collection.
Lindsay
Jun 24, 2010 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 ...more
Alan
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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
...more
Ivy Pruss
Sep 16, 2007 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
Caleb
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers of Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Lydia Davis, George Saunders
A peculiar little story collection, but a very enjoyable one. As the title suggests, the common theme throughout this book is dogs... dogs of the strangest variety. Not to give much away, but in Dogwalker, you will encounter dogs that can talk, dogs that wear human clothing, several three-legged dogs, dogs that have sex with humans, dogs that can sing Billy Joel... but that's not all! As surreal as offbeat as the canines in these stories might sound, I often found myself vividly imagining every ...more
Becky
Apr 02, 2012 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
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