cover image Woof! Writers on Dogs

Woof! Writers on Dogs

, . . Viking, $24.95 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-670-02029-4

Montgomery (The Things Between Us ), a memoirist and executive editor of Tin House magazine, delivers personal essays from writers—including Barry Hannah, Victoria Redel and Denis Johnson (whose essay is written from the point of view of his curiously military-minded bullmastiff, The Colonel)—that capture “the soul essence of dogs” in a way that will touch the hearts of canine owners everywhere. From novelist Tom Grimes’s description of his dog Charlie’s “zigzagging, semi-Homeric” outings to Lydia Millet’s paean to her pug Bug, “a confounding and holy monster,” each author presents a memorable dog each possessing much devotion and baffling eccentricity. Other than Millet and Yannick Murphy (“The Sea of Trees”)—who presents an ode to Tom, his huge, slobbering and totally good-natured Newfoundland—almost all of the essayists prominently feature descriptions of their dogs’ deaths, each of which is affecting but read together can be a profoundly sad experience for those with dogs. This fine collection works best if readers give themselves adequate time for reflection—and sometimes a good cry—between each essay. (Nov.)