Afterglow (A Dog Memoir)

Eileen Myles. Grove, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2709-9
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
Open Ebook - 978-0-8021-8878-6
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-8021-2855-3
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