Aug 18, 2009

The Dogs of Babel

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Quick overview: This story is about Paul Iverson, (a professor of linguistics), and is focused around the death of his wife, Lexy Ransome. He was not home when Lexy died and is haunted by what happened. The only witness to her death was their dog Lorelai, and in his grief he uses his linguistic background to try and teach Lorelai how to talk so he can find out the truth about what happened to Lexy.

This book sounds really weird, but I would encourage you to read it. I'm not going to lie, it is not an uplifting read. It deals with heavy subjects, and as Paul researches more about people who have tried to teach dogs to talk, you'll read some about horrible things done to these dogs. There were a couple of times I had to keep in mind that this was a novel, and it was not real.

The story is just as much about Paul and Lexy as it is about Paul and Lorelai. You read about Paul and Lexy's story, how they fell in love, and I like it because it's unorthodox. There are some aspects of their relationship I can relate to (being so angry at someone, but still loving them fiercely), and other parts I can't relate to, but I like that it's real.

The book is filled with bittersweet moments - the author does such a great job of bringing the story of life.

"There is a kind of grieving that dogs do, a patient waiting for homecoming, a sniffing for a scent that is no longer there. Since Lexy died, I have often seen Lorelei sitting at the top of the basement stairs, listening for noises from the workshop below. This morning, I find her in the bedroom, sleeping stretched out on one of Lexy's sweaters. I must have left the closet door open, and I can only assume that Lorelei, drawn by the scent of Lexy's perfume, her hair, her skin, still lingering on her clothes, jumped up and tugged at the garment until she had freed it from its slippery, padded hanger. I don't take the sweater away from her. Instead, I walk quietly out of the room and leave her to breathe in her memories, whatever they might be."
(The Dogs of Babel, page 63)

This novel is not an easy read, but it is a pretty fast one. It helps you think about taking advantage of the life you have and makes you appreciate things more. Definitely read it - and let me know what you think!

(Photo: ffffound)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Sounds like a great book. It's going on my to-reads list! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Becky said...

Absolutely! Let me know what you think when you read it! :)

Megan said...

Made me cry like whoa. Aren't you glad I told you to read it?! :)

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