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Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Told through the eyes of a very grumpy yet lovable mutt, a funny and touching tale of aging, death, friendship, and life that proves sometimes a dog's story is the most human of all.

Tassen has always been a one-man dog. When his human companion, Major Thorkildsen, dies, Tassen  and Mrs. Thorkildsen are left alone. Tassen mourns Major by eating too many treats, and Mrs. T b
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by HarperVia
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Fran
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tassen was "...the one left over when the rest of the litter is sold. An outcast...the wrong color...sold at half-price to the Major...I'm a one-man dog...I am and will always be the Major's dog...". Major Thorkildsen, a World War II veteran, his wife, and Tassen often hunted together in the Norwegian woods. The cellar was fully supplied with food. Tassen became an overgrown lap dog raised with tenderness, love and plenty of dog treats. Now that the Major has died, "What happens to Mrs. Thorkild ...more
Carolyn
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This lovely book is original in its concept, thought-provoking, and poignant. It is narrated by a unique talking dog named Tassen. Some insights and philosophies were funny and provides one with a new perception of what their pet may be thinking about besides food and walks. You may never view your dog in the same way again. Tassen brings humour to the story as he worries that he may be racist because he dislikes some breeds of dogs and detests a few other animal species. He is especially prejud ...more
Ian Smith
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
GOOD DOGS DON’T MAKE IT TO THE SOUTH POLE by HANS-OLAV THYVOLD
I ordered this book because it purports to be about Roald Amundsen and Captain Robert F. Scott’s efforts to reach the South Pole and, yes, that does come into it but, the book is all about Tassen, a dog no less. If fact, it’s written by the dog which opens up all sorts of possibilities. I found it very insightful into all aspects of animal behaviour.
The dog is owned by an elderly couple named Thorkildsen (and I wish it was about Smit
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Cheri

4.5 Stars

This story begins as the end of Major Thorkildsen’s life is becoming more apparent, as though death is hovering above them, awaiting the moment. Tassen, the Major’s faithful companion notes the scent in the air as Mrs. Thorkildsen lifts Tassen onto the Major’s bed, where he notes the smell of the pain that has been inside the Major for a while now. As Tassen lays beside him, he finds himself reminiscing on a rhyme the Major taught him when he was still a young pup, eventually realizing
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Dale Harcombe
Two and a half stars
I started this expecting it to be a light and amusing read. After all it is told from the point of view of a dog, Tassen. After the Major dies it is up to Tassen and the Major’s wife to carry on. They settle into a life together surrounded by books and stories of the 1911 race to reach the South Pole first, between Norway’s explorer Roald Admunsen and Britain’s’ Captain Robert Scott. What started as an entertaining and amusing read though turned into something else. It became
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M - The long hot spell
(Edit (25/01/20): I think this book had a much darker ending that I realised at the time of finishing it. It's only been two days of course but my mind keeps returning to this story, going over the things that happened in it. This is not a light story - it's kept buoyant by the humour, but actually it deals with some rather confronting and depressing things.)

What an odd book this was and before you think I have complaints, I mean it in the nicest way. This was five stars for me so you know I lik
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Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com

‘Mrs Thorkildsen thinks for a while before responding: ‘Well, who knows? It’s not at the South Pole. But if it was a good dog, and I have every reason to think it was, I’m sure it went to a good place.’ ‘Good dogs don’t make it to the South Pole?’ ‘Unlikely.’

Good Dogs Don’t Make It to the South Pole by Norwegian born author Hans Olav-Thyvold was first published in 2017 as Snille hunder kommer ikke til Sydpolen. Translated into English and released in Februa
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Saturday's Child
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With my dog, a glass of dragon water and nowhere to go (thanks to Stage 2 Lockdown) this novel gave me something to laugh about in the current miserable situation.

“A perfect example of one of the dangers of reading books. It may change you. Forever”.

“The Librarian takes a fresh swig. I may have overestimated Mrs. Thorkildsen’s special talent for drinking; new evidence would suggest that this is a more widespread skill. It would seem that librarians, in the course of their everyday work, are expo
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Ken Fredette
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hans-Olav Thyvold has taken our favorite mutt and made him into a lovable dog named Tassen. Tassen talks to Mrs. Thorkildsen after her husband Major Thorkildsen died. What they talked about the most was about dogs and the first person to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen. A Norwegian before the British reached it. What was interesting was that Amundsen was in Greenland for two years before he left for the South Pole working with the Greenland dogs to master working with them. During the tales ...more
Helen
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in dogs, aging, family dynamics, or the race to the South Pole
This is an interesting book about dogs, aging, families, and the race to the South Pole, as narrated by a dog!
Tanya
Jan 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
After much agonising, I'm calling this a DNF at page 166 (55% read). I absolutely hate giving up on books, but I also feel life is too short to spend reading books you're not enjoying. And unfortunately, this book has me feeling this way. It's having me put off reading when I used to love it, reading it for me is a chore instead of a pleasure, and so I'm having to conclude it's not the book for me.

Good Dogs Don't Make it to the South Pole is the story of a dog called Tassen. After his master, M
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Denice Langley
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully told book of a life lived through the eyes of a faithful dog. We've all wondered what our dogs were thinking at one point or another. Hans-Olav Thyvold gives a voice to Tassen, a dog chosen as the last friend to the Major and then his wife. The story is an original. A life lived in the comfort of a family that transitions after the Major dies. The tale of the journey of a famous dog sled team to the south pole runs through the main tale. Both stories are sure to please dog lovers o ...more
Maggie Rotter
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a treat! Tassen is right up there with S.T. from Hollow Kingdom as a narrator with a sympathetic but ultimately nonhuman voice. Tassen is cultured compared to S.T., but both take action to mitigate their humans'unwise choices with mixed results. Please give yourself a shot of cheer with these fully developed characters. And while we're talking about it, don't miss Three Bales Full - sheep detectives. ...more
Cheryl
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This book just wasn’t for me, a life told through the eyes of a dog.
Jodi
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog lovers
This was an absolutely wonderful reading experience! You might think that a book about a talking dog would be a "lightweight" read, but you'd be wrong. And don't let the cartoon-ish cover fool you, either. This is no lightweight and certainly no cartoon! In fact, it's incredibly poignant, and doesn't seem odd in the least that Tassen should speak and be understood by Mrs. Thorkildsen. It feels as natural as can be, and they have the most stimulating conversations!

I laughed A LOT - almost constan
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Joan
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderful Norwegian tale narrated by the dog. It follows the relationship of a widow after her husband passes and the dog, Tassen, develops a new relationship with her. The widow was a former librarian and takes to reading books to Tassen, specifically books on the exploration of the South Pole (thus the title). Compassionate, reflective but witty throughout.
Tim
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Hans-Olav Thyvold and Allen & Unwin for the ARC of Good Dogs Don't Make it to the South Pole.

I enjoyed this immensely, the character development is superb. I felt strong connections to Tassen and Mrs Thorkildsen and truly disliked Bitch. Tassen is quick witted, his sensitive sense of smell and his observations of people are hilarious. There are many laugh out loud moments. The accounts of the Antarctic expeditions are fascinating; informative and confronting. There are poignant comment
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Emily
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully touching story about loneliness, friendship, grief, mortality and not only finding but maintaining our purpose in this world.
Strongly recommended for fans of The Last Family in England by Matt Haig and all animal lovers.
Claire McKell
Came highly recommended but I was underwhelmed. Easy to read, interesting perspective (dogs-eye view) but the characters were unappealing, the storyline bland and boring.
Judy Graham
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed this book! Did a lot of laughing! I recommend that you read it!
Anna
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
If I could give this book 2 1/2 stars I would. This book had potential. I love dogs and I love the concept of the book that one is in the head of a dog named "Tasssen"; There were many times in the book I would stop and contemplate and think I wonder if my own dog thinks this way. I have always wondered what i would be like in a dogs head. What are they thinking all the time, etc. And if my dog could talk what would he say. So, maybe that is what kept me going in the book.

The writing was a litt
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Patti Procopi
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to reading this book. The premise sounded very appealing but it just seemed to go off the rails and get bogged down in the story of the South Pole expedition and all the horrors inflicted on the dogs that helped Amundsen win the race. Sorry. Not the story I wanted to read. This novel needed some serious editing. Way too long. I almost gave up on this book a couple of times but I stuck with it hoping for some great end. It didn’t happen. I liked the dog Tassan. None o ...more
Anneke
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: Good Dogs Don’t Make It to the South Pole
Author: Hans-Olav Thyvold
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers/Harper Via
Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Review Date: April 22, 2020

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“Told through the eyes of a very grumpy yet lovable mutt, a funny and touching tale of aging, death, friendship, and life that proves sometimes a dog's story is the most human of all.

Tassen has always been a one-man dog. When his
...more
Bob
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dog-books-2020
What a wonderful experience this was! I knew after reading just three pages that this might be a five star book. And indeed it is: a delightfully gay, poignant, joyful, sometimes snarky, always enthralling adventure into the human condition. It's told from the unique perspective of a very believable, charming dog named Tassen; an outcast, the runt of the litter and lover of all things human... especially treats and companionship. If you've ever suspected that dogs may have a more informed and en ...more
Bob
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dog-books-2020
What a wonderful experience this was! I knew after reading just three pages that this might be a five star book. And indeed it is: a delightfully gay, poignant, joyful, sometimes snarky, always enthralling adventure into the human condition. It's told from the unique perspective of a very believable, charming dog named Tassen; an outcast, the runt of the litter and lover of all things human... especially treats and companionship. If you've ever suspected that dogs may have a more informed and en ...more
Miriam
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I just loved this book. I laughed, I cried, and I chortled at the adventures of Tassen and Mrs. Thorkildsen as they venture out to get "Dragon Water," pick up books and Roald Amundsen at the library, meals (and more) at the nearby tavern, and even their journey to a museum.

Oh what adventures they have!

One of my favorite lines is “Your bum is behind you whichever way you aim.” A pithy and all too true sentiment that you’ll nod at each time you read the phrase.

As you read this adventure story ful
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Rachel
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Tassen, a dog owned by Major and Mrs Thorkildson, written from his perspective. The book starts with the death of Major Thorkildson and looks at how the elderly Mrs Thorkildson copes with living on her own. Mrs Thorkildson is a former librarian so, prompted by Tassen, starts researching Armundson's journey to the South Pole and particularly the role of dogs in this journey.

This book was interesting enough but it pales in comparison to one of my all time favourites, also writ
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Terri Suda
I've read reviews that compare this charming and darkly humorous novel as a combination of A Man Called Ove and The Art of Racing in the Rain. I couldn't agree more! I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version, told in the voice of Tassen, a Greenland Dog. When his owner, the Major, passes away, Tassen is left with his widow, Mrs. Thorkildsen, to while away the hours. Mrs. T, a retired librarian, fills this time, emboldened by her daily consumption of "dragon water," with study of Roald Admundsen's i ...more
O Prism
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Who’s a GOOD boy? Tassen is! Delightful story told from a dog’s POV. Mrs. Thorkildsen has long conversations with Tassen after the death of her husband. She explains the story of Roald Amundsen, the first person to reach the South Pole. She cuts out many, many paper dogs and props them up around the fireplace to help Tassen understand how many dogs were on that run, and what happened to them while on the ice. The two of them have many long and varied conversations with each other, at home or whi ...more
Jessica
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a really fun read for me! What I loved the most was that the whole story was told from the dog's point of view. Tassen the dog was our beloved narrator and it offered a unique perspective on what your dog could be thinking. As a dog lover and owner, I found this really fun.

When Tassen's owner died, he was left with Mrs. T, the widow. They spent all of their time together going to the library and learning about a pack of dogs that made a journey to the south pole. It was a welcome distr
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