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Between a Wolf and a Dog

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,191 ratings  ·  257 reviews
Ester is a family therapist with an appointment book that catalogues the anxieties of the middle class: loneliness, relationships, death. She spends her days helping others find happiness, but her own family relationships are tense and frayed. Estranged from both her sister, April, and her ex-husband, Lawrence, Ester wants to fall in love again. Meanwhile, April is struggl ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 28th 2016 by Scribe Publications
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  2,191 ratings  ·  257 reviews

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Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Why do I keep picking books like this!! Another beautifully written book soaked with thoughtful prose and tinged with a contemplative sadness. This book delves into the fragility of life and relationships, of family, forgiveness and also owning up to your own truth, however painful or sad that might be. The book centres around one family all dealing with their own issues, each one connected to the other. I love how the atmosphere of the relentless rain in the background enhances the mood of this ...more
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Exquisitely painful. Beautifully written.

My View:
Exquisitely painful, melancholy, reflective, poignant and yet so beautifully written you will not be able to put this book down.

Without doubt one of the best book I have read this year!

This book should have been depressing but it wasn’t, it was a celebration of life and the joy of the everyday; sitting round the table with your family as a child, holidays with family, kids playing dress ups, cooking together in the kitchen, singing out loud, a
☼♄Jülie 

Beautiful, raw and real....

Entre chien et loup is a multi-layered expression used by the french. It is used to describe a specific time of day, just before night, when the light is so dim you can't distinguish a dog from a wolf.

The title is perfect! It so aptly describes the way this story is delivered.

So beautifully evocative, I felt as if I were a not-so-distant observer to the unfolding events...I was involved right from the beginning.

I can't describe this story, it is way out of my depth to
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a melancholy book, alive with the fragility of life that touches us all, it was made up of delicate webs, the stars that spiders make.

I don't think I've ever read a book that so beautifully calls in the atmosphere of a rainy day in Australia, a metaphor for our very own sorrows, and how quickly our imprint in this world remains.

I closed it with a heavy heart, and a feeling of urgency with respect to my own life, and yet the knowledge that this meditation on how we take our time here for
Michael Livingston
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully drawn study of a flawed family, coping with separation, illness and crisis. It's thoughtful, powerful and the conclusion is deeply moving, even without the added poignancy that comes from knowing Blain's own tragic medical situation.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The time between a wolf and a dog is late dusk, a mauve light “deepening like a bruise, the cold breath of the wind a low moan…” It is during that symbolic time that this novel is set, peopled by characters who straddle the lines between self-awareness and destruction.

In another writer’s hands, the book could veer toward the melodramatic: one sister, Ester, a therapist…the other, April, a musician with boundary issues…a filmmaker mother, Hillary, who is on the verge of making a profoundly diffic
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
The action of this book by Georgia Blain takes place over a single day – but as in real life, the past bleeds into the present…

Between a Wolf and a Dog seems like a curious name for an Australian book (because we don’t have wolves here and never did) so I Googled it and discovered via At Twilight that it’s a translation of the French expression entre chien et loup, an expression which means the twilight, when you can’t distinguish between a wolf and a dog, or, more symbolically, between friend o
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was immediately captivated by the title of this book, "Between a Wolf and a Dog," which I later discovered is translated from a French phrase referring to that moment when darkness emerges and our vision is blurred. From there Blain drew me into her beautifully observed world of families, betrayal and secrets.

There is a wonderful quietness in Blain's writing, as she moves around the inner workings of fascinating characters to meditations on the gloomy beauty of a stormy day in Sydney. She nev
I run the risk of gushing over this Australian novel, but it truly was exceptional.

This beautiful story of a damaged family over the course of one rainy Sydney day is exquisitely written. Each of the characters are well constructed and Blain's evocative prose graphically recreates the Australian bush scenes of the family country retreat and the sadness and pain of the characters.

While sadness pervades the novel, it is not a sad book, but hopeful and full of the potential of life.
Highly recommend
Debbie Robson
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading somewhere that Georgia Blain only writes about the middle class. I thought well, I’m middle class but Between A Wolf and a Dog is so much more than just a certain set of characters, a certain stage. It is a mediation on life itself, on how we interact with others, on the dynamics of family and the impact our actions can have on those around us.
Ester is a family therapist and her appointments cleverly break up the day for the reader. Ester is estranged from her sister April, w
Anna Luce
★★★✰✰ 3 stars

This novel had a really strong start: Blain's style was compelling and brought her story to life.
However, as the narrative progresses, I started to notice that the language and descriptions could be very repetitive and, at times, even overdone.
Although there are flashbacks and chapters set in the past, the majority of the story chronicles one single day. The focus is on Ester, a family therapist, her mother Hilary, who is a filmmaker, her estranged sister April, who is a singer, and
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
Sometimes I think the best novels are those that are set over the course of just one day. Let's face it, a lot can happen. Between A Wolf And A Dog explores the goings on of one rainy day (and a little bit into the next) in Sydney, in the lives of several characters in one family, by blood and by marriage. Blain explores the pain and heartbreak of separation and betrayal, how life as we know it can be over in an instant, and captures the minutiae of life, from the sound of the rain falling to th ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An exquisitely written story but heart wrenchingly sad. I loved the language and sincerity of this novel and felt moved by all the characters despite both their good and bad choices.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful book. It shows the importance of the big and small things, the indignities and pleasures of life. These characters are deeply drawn and no one is perfect. The ending feels like a new beginning and I hope they'll all find a way to get by.
Amy Polyreader
Exquisite. I didn’t put this down from the moment I began. My favourite read of the year.
3.5 stars actually.

Most reviewers showered praise on this book, and it won the 2017 Queensland Literary Prize. However, while I really love the title and its derivation, and found myself quickly immersed in this book, which is undeniably well-observed and well-constructed ... there is something about the plot and characters that seems too contrived to me.

And there's also something vaguely out-dated in the feel or tone of the book, which is not compensated for by the frequent references to moder
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book comes along at exactly the right time and it’s exactly the book you want to read. Such was the case with Georgia Blain’s Between a Wolf and a Dog.

The story takes place predominantly over one rainy day. Ester is a single mother to twin girls and works as a family therapist.

“It’s rare that she hears about love in her consulting room. Most of her clients talk of anger, failure, boredom, depression, conflict: the flipside of love.”

Although Ester spends her days helping others find h
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anz16
Update: I read yesterday that Georgia Blain died last week as a result of her brain tumour. Another strong writerly voice that we will miss greatly. Sadly, her remarkable mother, Anne Deveson, died (from Alzheimers disease) only a few days later.

It is many years since I read a Georgia Blain novel and I'm so pleased that I chose to read this one. My only criticism is that the one day when most of the action takes place, with all of its backstory being told in flashbacks, seems unbelievably long.
Hilary lived a lucky, happy life with her creative husband, friends and family. Her story is told with respect and empathy. It is the highlight of the book.
Her daughters don't talk, Ester's patients would depress anyone, Alice knows she needs to grow up and Ester's ex-husband Lawrence is irresponsible.
The story is told over one day, with all characters having a major role at times. Very nicely written but overall I couldn't feel too much sympathy with anyone other than Hilary and the twins.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A disappointing domestic novel let down by showy writing and an over reliance on back story. Strong characterisation helps keep the narrative afloat, however.

To read my review in full, please visit my blog.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.
The story is told from each main character's points of view over the course of a rainy day in Sydney, with flashbacks to a significant event 3 years prior. Ester is a family therapist who's own family is fractured. She is estranged from her sister, April, and her ex-husband Lawrence. We know early on that something is wrong with Ester and April's mother, Hilary, but what? I think multiple perspective books can be tricky, but here the switching of narrator offered deeper insight
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
rain! australiana! psychotherapy! it’s all good honey
Alyssia Tennant
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Yes, it is about death, but it is also about living—about what we cling to and what we relinquish—about how we remember.”

The novel takes its title from the French expression L’heure entre chien et loup, “the hour between wolf and dog”, which refers to those liminal moments between day and night when the sky darkens and it is difficult to see clearly. Then, it is most difficult to distinguish a wolf from a dog, a friend from an enemy, and good from bad. This theme lies at the heart of Blain’s
Alexandra Daw
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was easy to read. At times I was wondering why I kept reading because I didn't much care for some of the characters. It is a contemporary story. Perhaps one could even say very much a first world story. Hilary, a filmmaker, is dying and wants to choose her own death. Her husband has predeceased her and her daughters, now grownup with their own issues, are loving towards her but estranged from each other. The author's frank depiction of her characters keeps sentimentality at bay, but her lyr ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Truly special and insightful book. Georgia Blain is one of our best and this book is all the more poignant given her brain tumour diagnosis. Gorgeous writing and exploration of euthanasia, marriage, therapy and, well life.
Benjamin Farr
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Such a good, thought provoking, well-written book. Loved it!
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-read
Setting: Sydney, Australia. This is a tale of family relationships - Hilary is the widow of a reasonably successful artist, Maurie, and is struggling to cope with his loss and the estrangement of her daughters Ester and April with one another. Older daughter Ester is a family therapist whose clients epitomize the anxieties of the middle class - loneliness, death and relationship issues - yet has problems with her own daughters, her ex-husband Lawrence and her sister, April. Lawrence has made pro ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished this novel and I always make a habit of heading to Good Reads to see what others think. I am in the ‘loved it ‘camp which I can see a lot of reviewers do not share my feelings. I thought it profound in the portrayal of how we can hurt the ones we are supposed to love and for me it is a very human story and feel enriched for the reading experience.
Cindy H.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Roundup 3.5 stars
Esther is a family therapist who’s got plenty of her own family drama going on. I found her patients lives more compelling than Esther’s personal story. I wanted to love this book but ultimately I was left underwhelmed. Writing is beautiful, felt very authentic even when the stories were far from ordinary.
I love the cover photo.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aus, stella-prize
Absolutely beautiful 💜
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Georgia Blain has published novels for adults and young adults, essays, short stories, and a memoir. Her first novel was the bestselling Closed for Winter, which was made into a feature film. She was shortlisted for numerous awards including the NSW and SA Premiers' Literary Awards, and the Nita B. Kibble Award for her memoir Births Deaths Marriages. Georgia's works include The Secret Lives of Men ...more

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