Rachel's Reviews > The Dogs of Babel

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn  Parkhurst
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's review
Jul 15, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Recommended for: everyone
Read in May, 2006

This is hands down my favorite novel, maybe not of all time, but definitely of anything I've read in the last few years (and that encompasses a fair amount of books). It is so moving and so well written. The language is beautiful. Every sentence made me think, "Damn. Wish I'd written that!" Very lovely, poetic, heartbreaking. I can't say enough good things about this book. Highly recommended. It's about a man's grief and attempts to learn what really happened after his wife's sudden death. Didn't really seem like anything I'd like--it was actually one of my mother-in-law's library books that I picked up while staying a weekend at her house. I couldn't put it down until I finished. I enjoy elements of magical realism, and this one had a bit of that, but focused a lot on the emotions of the characters which just seemed so well drawn, so raw and real. As someone who has battled depression most of my life, I appreciated this author's ability to convey not only the torment of the female character, but also the extreme selfishness--readers really get to see her from the inside and outside, giving a unique perspective on the situation. It's just so complicated and so human. Okay, I've said enough. Just read it, seriously! :-)
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Quotes Rachel Liked

Carolyn  Parkhurst
“Suicide is just a moment, Lexy told me. This is how she described it to me. For just a moment, it doesn't matter that you've got people who love you and the sun is shining and there's a movie coming out this weekend that you've been dying to see. It hits you all of a sudden that nothing is ever going to be okay, ever, and you kind of dare yourself. You pick up a knife and press it gently to your skin, you look out a nineteenth-story window and you think, I could just do it. I could just do it. And most of the time, you look at the height and you get scared, or you think about the poor people on the sidewalk below - what if there are kids coming home from school and they have to spend the rest of their lives trying to forget this terrible thing you're going to make them see? And the moment's over. You think about how sad it would've been if you never got to see that movie, and you look at your dog and wonder who would've taken care of her if you had gone. And you go back to normal. But you keep it there in your mind. Even if you never take yourself up on it, it gives you a kind of comfort to know that the day is yours to choose. You tuck it away in your brain like sour candy tucked in your cheek, and the puckering memory it leaves behind, the rough pleasure of running your tongue over its strange terrain, is exactly the same.... The day was hers to choose, and perhaps in that treetop moment when she looked down and saw the yard, the world, her life, spread out below her, perhaps she chose to plunge toward it headlong. Perhaps she saw before her a lifetime of walking on the ruined earth and chose instead a single moment in the air”
Carolyn Parkhurst, The Dogs of Babel

Reading Progress

01/09/2017 marked as: read

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