The Difficulty of Being a Dog

Roger Grenier, Author, Alice Kaplan, Translator University of Chicago Press $22 (139p) ISBN 978-0-226-30827-2
What is a dog? In the hands of French fiction writer, essayist and quintessential dog lover Grenier (Another November), the canine emerges over the course of its all too brief life as a faithful and loving companion, a protection against loneliness and life's insults, a connoisseur of foul odors and a playmate always ready to join its owner in cavorting like a fool. In this collection of several dozen delightful and poignant anecdotal pieces, he ranges over our 12,000-year relationship with dogs, from those who appeared in Greek and Roman mythologyDlike the three-headed Cerberus, who guarded the gates of HellDto the dogs that appear in our dreams (in this case, Grenier's dreams of his own old dog, Ulysses). Probing the dark side of the human-dog bond, Grenier sensitively observes how, at times, we humans have been less than faithful to our canine friends, giving rise to such sayings as, ""'He died like a dog.'"" With whimsical humor and mordant wit, he applies a broad and deep knowledge of literary dog lovers from Homer to Flaubert and Faulkner, elaborating not only on their insights into dog-love and hate but also on what these writers' revelations tell us about ourselves. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
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Paperback - 132 pages - 978-0-226-30828-9
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