Dog Days

Mavis Cheek, Author Simon & Schuster $18.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-671-70902-0
Cheek's stylish, engaging comedy of manners is satiric froth lightly masking psychological acuity. When she decides to divorce her phlegmatic, self- satisfied husband, Londoner Pat Murray guiltily agrees to her 11-year-old daughter Rachel's request for a dog as compensation for having deprived the child of a live-in father. The spineless mutt, named Brian, comes to typify the ``dog days'' of Pat's post-divorce existence. By providing her heroine with enough emotional and financial resources to make her atypical of the conventional victimized wife, Cheek effectively distances the narrative from the run-of-the-mill. Pat's first-person description of the boredom of her marriage and the initial freedom of her single state are related in the crisp, witty style familiar to readers of Parlor Games . Delighted to be rid of her spouse, spunky Pat reserves her most acerbic comments for dog owners who pretend to be oblivious to their canines' deposits on what she calls ``Crap Green,'' which she describes as ``one vast morning shit party, every day.'' Eventually, however, Pat becomes prey to loneliness and lust, the latter kindled by a man who seems doubly unavailable. Although the reader knows that Pat won't remain ``quite happy being single and sexless'' forever, the scenes leading up to the denouement are unpredictably hilarious. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Hardcover - 287 pages - 978-0-7089-8594-6
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