The Lost Dog Hardcover – 1 May 2008
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"[a] clever, engrossing novel... De Kretser's beautifully shaded book moves between modern day Australia and post-colonial India. Mysteries and love affairs are unfolded but never fully resolved, and as Tom searches for his dog, it becomes apparent that its whereabouts is only one of the puzzles in his life." -- Tina Jackson, Metro
You Must Read: `beautifully written novel about the hunt for a missing dog'
-- Sunday Times
`Confident, meticulous plotting, her strong imagination and her precise, evocative prose. Like the Hamilton Case, The Lost Dog opens up rich vistas with its central idea and introduces the reader to a world beyond its fictional frontiers.' -- Lindsay Duguid, Sunday Times
`De Kretser is writer of great power and range who must surely receive her due before too long'
-- Daily Telegraph
`Michelle de Kretser's powerful imagination transmits an extraordinarty energy to the narrative... a remarkable achievement. Fully to enjoy it requires slow and patient reading, but the effort brings ample rewards.'
-- Francis King, Literary Review
`Reading The Lost Dog one is torn between contradictory urges - to race ahead, in order to find out what happens, and to linger in admiration of de Kretser's ravishing style' -- New Statesman
`Throughout the book Michelle de Krester's powerful imagination transmits an extraordinary energy to the narrative ... a remarkable achievement' -- Literary Review
`a beautiful piece of writing - place your bets now for the Booker.' -- Kate Saunders, The Times
`a richly layered literary text' -- The Big Issue
`clear, vigorous, sensitive to mood and cadence...strongly narrative - an excellent tool for a novelist with a story to tell'
-- The Guardian
`Scattered throughout are brief dramas or anecdotes, involving a variety of odd and often funny characters.' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It is these sights, sounds and smells of his ancestral home which shape Tom's attitides to his new country. Even in his mid-thirties, working as a semi-successful literary professor, while also working on a book about Henry James, Tom critically examines those around him, still emotionally attached to his octogenarian mother Iris whose arthritic knees are steadily diminishing her quality of life, and later, his ex-wife, who over the years after their divorce has treated Tom with a mixture of disdain and condescending authority.
Only when Tom suddenly loses his dog in the Australian bush while working on his book, the last vision he sees is of the animal lean and white, rust-spotched, springing up a bank, does his story spring back to seven months earlier, beginning with a painting he sees st an art gallery he hadn't entered in the four years since his wife left. It is here at a group show of four young artists that Tom meets the Chinese-Australian artist and photographer, Nelly Zhang who instantly attracts him with her mysteriousness and ambiguities.
Soon enough he's visiting Nelly at The Preserve, a ramshackle warehouse which serves as her home and studio, which also she shares with her son teenage son, Rory and the beautiful fellow artist Yelena, who "men circle like moons.Read more ›
The novel does paint some brilliant scenes, bit in the Australian outback and in Mangalore, but is too disjointed to carry it through into an interesting read. There are too many characters and it is difficult to tell them apart. This isn't helped by zipping back across time and oceans at the mention of a trigger word or the appearance of a trigger image.
Within the novel, there are four strands (at least), that don't quite come together: (1) Tom's lost dog; (2)Nelly's lost husband; (3) Tom's mother's infirmity; and (4) Tom and Nelly's budding romance. On top of this, there are various backstories, and it just a sea of confusion. And with a tendency to overwrite, Michelle de Kretser adds to the fog. In the end, it is actually hard to understand the resolutions to some of the stories because they are left artily obscure. But that's a technique that is frustrating even at the end of a strong and clear narrative, but when it is used at the end of obscure and, frankly, rather dull plot lines it is pretty unforgivable. Yes, I've said it now: it's boring.
This feels like a novel by a writer who can write well, but has been encouraged to play up the artiness - the book is even about artists, for heaven's sake - but lacks the spontaneity to make it work. It feels rather emulative of Peter Carey's Theft, but without the intrigue to make the obscurity work.
The Booker longlisting will, I fear, encourage a reprise of this style. But I suspect it wasn't the plot or the prose that attracted the Booker panel, but rather the voguish name-dropping of Henry James.
I was taken aback by how much I liked this book and the exquisite phrasing within it. I will certainly be seeking out another by this author. I won't spoil the ending but I do want to say that my favourite line in the whole novel ends "small against the sky" - once you've read it you'll know what I mean! - and how the simplest of words can conjur up the most beautiful of images.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tom was born in India, and is the only child of his rapidly aging parents as the novel opens. His father has an English background and his mother is Indian. Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2011 by Eileen Shaw
Dull, dull, dull. Nothing of any significance occurs. A deeply disappointing read. I wish I could rate it zero stars.Published on 18 April 2011 by Mandyfab