Guest Review: The Art of Racing In The Rain

Guest review by Lisa

A former documentary film maker, Garth Stein is a playwright and the author of three novels. He has won a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, and has been a Book Sense Pick in both hardcover and paperback. He lives in Seattle with his family.

The hands are the windows to a man’s soul - Enzo

This story is told from the point of view of a philosophical dog named Enzo. Enzo's master is Denny Swift, a sometimes race car driver. Denny marries, has a daughter, then loses his wife to brain cancer. Her parents, determined to gain custody of Denny's daughter, accuse him of a crime and file for custody. Through all of this Enzo explains how the lessons Denny has learned in racing help him deal with the things life has thrown at him.

It took some time to get over the idea of dog as narrator of a grown-up book and to really pay attention to the passages about racing (because it does play such an important part in the book). But I soon bought into the whole concept and really enjoyed this book. Stein knows his stuff about racing and did a wonderful job of fleshing out the main characters (although the in-laws are fairly one-dimensional, particularly the father). I could really see the action in this book as it took place and felt I could "see" the people and places. Highly recommend this one for dog lovers who will surely be able to believe that their dogs are equally as intelligent!

Type: Fiction, 336 pages, Hardcover

Synopsis:Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

Reviews:

The art of Racing in the Rain has everything: love, tradegy, redemption, danger, and most especially – the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach to us about being human. I loved this book – Sara Gruen, Author of Water for Elephants

BN.COM review: The title may throw you, but the book will capture you. The tale (tail?) is unique and is told from a most unusual perspective. Embedded throughout are gems of wisdom about life and (I particularly liked this) tidbits of droll humor. The reader will find it hard to put down the book, from the first page all the way through the most unusual conclusion. I've recommendedt to many and have yet to find anyone who wasn't enthralled. Go Enzo!

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