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Sight Hound

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,509 Ratings  ·  248 Reviews

The long-awaited novel; a very special love story; from the best-selling author of Cowboys Are My Weakness.

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
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 22nd 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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gail
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jen
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: uber-books, dogs
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.
Suzanne
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dogs
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
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Jennifer
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Isis
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Stephanie A.
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Between a 2 and 3. Wolfhounds are one of the most amazing breeds and I liked the central focus on Dante and the importance of the bond between woman and dog. For that reason, I also liked the chapters from the vet and vet tech, and I didn't even mind the overly philosophical chapters from Dante's POV or the more whimsical chapters from the other dog and the cat.

But I also got very tired of the more literary-fiction aspects while we were reading about Rae's previous dull romantic partners, or ab
...more
Amos
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Keith Rode
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nina
Dec 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Cayr
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

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Sherrie
Jul 17, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Kirsti
May 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I felt like this book tried to be deep and mysterious and instead came off as confusing and convoluted to me. It is told from multiple character perspectives, and most of the voices sounded the same. Mostly they went off in totally different directions than talking about Rae and Dante, and for a book that was meant to be about a woman and her dog this was annoying. I didn't need the flowery script, give me the emotion. Alas, the whole thing fell in a messy heap for me and I found myself hoping D ...more
Stacy
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Kate
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Who doesn't like a Buddhist-quoting dog?

How fun and touching that Houston had two dogs narrate this book--as well as multiple other people (which for the most part was great, because they are all quirky and interesting...but at times it got a little confusing keeping track of who was who).

With her wonderful descriptions, Houston made me want to live on a ranch in Colorado.

The focus of this book is LOVE. What's not to love about that?
Kim
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs, fantasy
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.
Peggy
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Cyndi
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Lou
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Anna
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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."


Sundry
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite authors, but not really my favorite book. Glad she’s still writing, though.
Nikki Duvall
Jul 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Laura Meinhardt
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A dog dying of cancer, told from many different viewpoints, including the dog's. But it's not particularly sad - more thoughts on life and relationships.
Garfield
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book quite some years ago. Re-read it again after finding a paperback version for a few dollars. Loved it all over again. A wonderful blend of the wisdom of dogs, in this case Dante a venerable Irish Wolfhound and his friend Rose a dog of mixed heritage, and the humans in their lives. Dante especially speaks to the heart, teaching valuable lesson to his people.
Laura Smith
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A hard start for me personally, but as you get to know the characters...they become "real"and endearing. I ended up loving this book and it reminded me that with joy comes sadness, you can't have one without the other....but the pain is worth the Joy you feel.
Philip
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Evidently, I am not wise enough to appreciate this book in its full force. I love dogs but didn't love this book.
Lynn
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-has
This is Pam Houston's first novel-I have enjoyed her short stories but they all seem to follow a similar theme. This novel is no different. Bea is the owner of Dante, an Irish Wolfhound, who is the only relationship in Bea's life that has been constant and positive. But Dante is battling cancer once again and their relationship is going to tested like it never has before. The story speaks to the bond between an owner and a dog, there are too many characters. Each chapter is told from the point o ...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.
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