Poet and novelist Myles (Inferno) reflects on 16 years with their pit bull Rosie. Inspired by Rosie’s death, Myles uses a pastiche approach to explore the bodily, cerebral, and esoteric/religious aspects of the grieving process, all of which is portrayed with meditative poignancy. The feeling of watching a beloved pet’s decline is rendered bittersweet: “Our present had a pastness to it every day.” There is humor, as the author recalls a fruitless attempt to breed Rosie (“I wondered if I was doing something illegal. Letting dogs have sex in my building”). There’s a chapter written as the transcript of a surrealist puppet show, wherein Rosie informs the audience that she has been writing Myles’s material since 1990. Myles also brings Hitler’s art, 14th-century tapestries, and Abu Ghraib into the narrative, and writes in the voice of Bo Jean Harmonica, an alter ego of sorts whose gender is categorized pithily: “I’m a man but there’s a woman in it.” Though there are occasional meandering thematic digressions, these seem a part of the journey. Myles depicts the raw pathos of loss with keen insight. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017 Release date: 09/01/2017 Genre: Nonfiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.