cover image Schrödinger’s Dog

Schrödinger’s Dog

Martin Dumont, trans. from the French by John Cullen. Other, $14.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-63542-998-5

Dumont’s rich, somber debut plumbs a father-son relationship to meditate on the fictions people create to endure loss. Widowed French cabbie Yanis Marès, long haunted by the possibility that his wife Lucille’s death was a suicide, lives for his college-aged son Pierre, calling him “my greatest accomplishment.” Pierre, a biology student and hopeful novelist, is equally devoted to Yanis, and they share a passion for deep-sea diving. After the sudden decline of Pierre’s health from pancreatic cancer, Yanis tries to get Pierre’s novel published. As Yanis and his son grapple with Pierre’s terminal prognosis, Yanis considers telling him his book was accepted, and, during a visit with Yanis’s prickly in-laws, Yanis vacillates between an idealized story about their grandson’s literary success and pressing for the truth about his wife’s death. Dumont, also a naval architect, credibly describes the characters’ love for the depths of the sea, which they appreciate for its darkness and quiet desolation. While the compressed narrative jumps abruptly between major plot developments, Dumont effectively explores the forces that draw Yanis and Pierre to solitude. As Pierre fades, Dumont offers powerful philosophical insight into questions of what people owe one another and the value of subjective belief. (Mar.)