Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
on 17 December 2002
Louis De Bernieres has written some marvelous literature. "Red Dog", is a wonderful true story about a dog that befriended a good portion of Australia, and has been memorialized with a bronze statue as well as other books. Faithful readers of this author will likely be disappointed if they expect another sweeping novel. This short story does not appear to have been planned, as it unfolds with crisp episodes in the remarkable life of this canine. It is extremely unusual in that the book has been illustrated with what appear to be etchings. Illustration has sadly become the domain of primarily very expensive, limited edition, and small press books.
This is not a child's book, perhaps for young readers in Junior High, but not for young children. This is a book about adults and how a remarkably charismatic canine changed their lives. This is not a fairly tale, it includes the realities of very trying circumstances and the people who pioneer the way in this extremely difficult environment. When it gets hot in the USA warnings suggest certain groups stay indoors. When it gets hot down under, warnings are issued for gas tanks that are prone to explode when exposed to the sun!
I think it is great that an author who has established himself as an accomplished literary writer would have the courage to step well away from what has worked for him repeatedly. I was reminded of some of John Steinbeck's work that centered on animals, both his own and fictional. If John Steinbeck can make the change I believe it is safe for other accomplished authors to explore unfamiliar genres, and they do not deserve to be punished for doing so. This is especially the case when the results are so worthwhile. I was going to give this 4 stars but I stepped it up to 5. The book was punished and I wanted to even out what is a brief but entering read.