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Woof!: Writers on Dogs

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Edited and featuring a contribution by Montgomery (The Things Between Us), this collection of canine essays by writers includes reminiscences of long-gone childhood pets and pieces on the stress of picking the right companion and living with our four-legged friends. Unlike several other recent dog-lit anthologies, this volume presents original writings that display an atypical depth. The tone of the essays ranges from the humorous (Abigail Thomas on sharing a bed with her three dogs, all of whom have a strong sense of entitlement) to the reflective (Rick Bass and Barry Hannah on saying good-bye to a beloved dog). Paul Winner's "Nightmares" evolves from a description of his sick dog to a meditation on family, memory, and faith. This collection should be popular with dog lovers who are looking for something a little different. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Montgomery (The Things Between Us), a memoirist and executive editor of Tin House magazine, delivers personal essays from writers--including Barry Hannah, Victoria Redel and Denis Johnson (whose essay is written from the point of view of his curiously military-minded bullmastiff, The Colonel)--that capture "the soul essence of dogs" in a way that will touch the hearts of canine owners everywhere. From novelist Tom Grimes's description of his dog Charlie's "zigzagging, semi-Homeric" outings to Lydia Millet's paean to her pug Bug, "a confounding and holy monster," each author presents a memorable dog each possessing much devotion and baffling eccentricity. Other than Millet and Yannick Murphy ("The Sea of Trees")--who presents an ode to Tom, his huge, slobbering and totally good-natured Newfoundland--almost all of the essayists prominently feature descriptions of their dogs' deaths, each of which is affecting but read together can be a profoundly sad experience for those with dogs. This fine collection works best if readers give themselves adequate time for reflection--and sometimes a good cry--between each essay. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"[Woof!] will touch the hearts of canine owners everywhere."
-Publishers Weekly

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