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The Lost Dog Hardcover – 1 May 2008

2.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701182105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701182106
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,712,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[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

Review

`Scattered throughout are brief dramas or anecdotes, involving a variety of odd and often funny characters.' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A richly imagined exploration of the myriad connections between art and life, The Lost Dog is part mystery and also part character study of one man, an immigrant in one country and an isolated, misunderstood child in another. Tom Loxley is haunted by his childhood in India, a glamorous, doting mother and a father who although extravagant and a drunk, is able to bring his family to make a new life for themselves in 1970's Australia.

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.
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By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Lost Dog is a lost cause.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I devoured this book in one sitting. The basic premise is that Tom is in Australia trying to find his dog which has run off; as he continues in his search, we catch glimpses and episodes from his past which make up his whole. The author writes sparsely but beautifully; she does not use elaborate prose or pages of description to create very believable characters. Tom tells us little about himself but page by page I started to really like and root for him. Art is not really a character in the book so much as something which interests some of the characters; I have no interest or liking for it but this didn't get in the way of my enjoying the story.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I was surprised to see some of the low ratings for this book - I really enjoyed it. Yes, it is arty, yes, I did feel there were some ideas that went over my head, and yes it is disjointed in places because of the structure - but the quality of the writing and the intriguing questions thrown up by the plot more than made up for it. An enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't like the language, I didn't like the structure, and the characters were intensly dislikeable. Can't imagine why this was nominated for the Booker prize. Contained a lot of tedious ove intellectualizing about art, literature, relationships and even dog ownership. Dull plot. Waste of time.
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