Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > The Dogs of Babel

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn  Parkhurst
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's review
Nov 22, 2011

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bookshelves: contemporary, fiction, literary-fiction, mystery, novels, popular-fiction, romance, science-fiction, suspense, ultimate-reading-list
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Read on November 22, 2011

Paul Iverson, a linguistics professor, loses his beloved wife Lexy, who apparently slipped and fell to her death from an apple tree. The only witness? Their dog Lorelei, an eight-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. He becomes obsessed with finding a breakthrough in language acquisition in dogs, so that Lorelei can tell him what happened.

It's his first person story, and I found it a convincing voice and compelling story I read in one sitting of less than four hours despite it being the usual novel-length. Only one thing really jarred me. And it wasn't his looney scheme--because I believed him unhinged. It wasn't even that some lunatic group known as The Cerberus Society exists to make dogs talk or that a psychopath experimented with dogs to give them speech. No, it was that one of the abused dogs is said to have testified on his own behalf and the court accepted it. But what about fantasy you say? Or well, it's magical realism! Except it's not--that's not the tone or tenor of the book at all, so that really stuck in my craw. I rated it this high nevertheless, because everything around that one problem was so first rate that despite myself I kept reading to the end. I loved Lorelei as a character and how the mystery of Lexy's death worked itself out.

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