Dogs, Dreams, and Men

Joan F. Kaufman, Author W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-393-02581-1
Ann, a 33-year-old editor whose hair is prematurely gray, lives alone in New York with Emma Bovary, her Bichon Frise. She is attracted to Drew Gold, a rock star who also walks his dog in the park, but as with Malin, her colleague at the publishing house, their flirtatious friendship remains stalled and without romantic promise. There's also Buck, a suitor from the past who telephones from the Coast with empty promises to visit. And there's a tryst with a calligraphy instructor who plans to marry someone else. But basically Ann faces life alone with Emma, waiting for the man of her dreams. The beauty of this first novel lies in the depth of Ann's self-knowledge and the eloquence with which the author gives it voice. Writing with uncommon wit and intelligence, Kaufman has crafted a narrative not only about dogs, dreams and men, but also about women, hope and love. Ann's deep affection for Emma, which proves the most enduring connection of all, is described in refreshingly unsentimental terms. And her dreams, which often involve the loss of Emma, are woven throughout the story, providing a counterpoint full of insight and humor. Very much a novel of New York, its inherent poignancya wonderful woman is being wasted with no one but her dog to appreciate heris very real. Yet by the end of the book it is apparent that Ann stands a chance of finding some sort of happiness after all. This is an auspicious debut by a writer with grace and originality. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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