The latest book I need to praise is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The novel is told through the eyes of a dog (Enzo), who has come near the end of his life and is reflecting upon the time he spent with his human family. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m not exactly an animal lover, so I was a bit skeptical when I heard the premise of the book, but Enzo was able to completely win me over. There were parts of the novel that were literally laugh out loud funny and others that brought me to tears.
At its core, the story is about being a witness to another person’s life. It’s about family, compassion and unconditional love. The Art of Racing in the Rain speaks to companionship and loyalty in only a way that a dog can explain it. It makes you wonder about how much our pets really understand us and how well they truly know the people we are.
Stein has a gift with words that left me wanting more. I’ll definitely be picking up his other novels in the future and I hope you’ll try this one out for yourself. Here are a few quotes that may help convince you to grab a copy:
“Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of a conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly.”
“So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is comprised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication.”
“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to.”
“Many of us have convinced ourselves that compromise is necessary to achieve our goals, that all of our goals are not attainable so we should eliminate the extraneous, prioritize our desires, and accept less than the moon. But Denny refused to yield to that idea.”
“ ‘There is no dishonor in losing the race,’ Don said. ‘There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.’ ”