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Apologizing to Dogs
by Joe Coomer
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684859475, Paperback)About the last thing you'd expect to find on a street arrayed with a dozen antique shops is something novel. Yet Worth Row, the setting for Joe Coomer's eighth book, Apologizing to Dogs, is fairly brimming with surprise and revelation. Romance, thievery, blackmail, and more all come to light on one bewildering day in Fort Worth's historic antique district. By the time the dust has settled, Coomer's quirky cadre of shop owners find their fragile equanimity forever shattered.
Slowly and surely losing patrons to the nearby mall, the Row is presided over by the prim and sentimental clothes dealer Nadine, who is the object of carpenter Carl's desire. His other passion, it turns out, is gutting his house to build the ship that he hopes will ferry Nadine and him to a new life. Meanwhile, Carl's neighbor, the recalcitrant Howard Dog-in-His-Path, conceals a bevy of confidences while loafing in his front-yard tub; the reclusive, paranoid Effie peers through her shutters and transcribes up-to-the-minute neighborhood reports in her journal; and, across the street, Tradio and Arthur are caught between the need to reveal they're lovers and the desire to keep the Row's boat from rocking. Just up the street are Mr. and Mrs. Haygood, and next to them are Mazelle--of Mazelle's Rare and Medium Rare Books--and her husband. These two couples form a love-square that gets dug up, literally, by a curious dog.
Just about every bit of tangled lineage and concealed secret gets exposed in Coomer's outlandish tale. At its best, Apologizing to Dogs reveals the tension between nostalgia and fulfillment, as well as the overwhelming force of our attachments, material or otherwise. "Why do we save old things," Arthur asks Nadine. "Why do we collect these old precious things?" In its improbable eruptions and rambling dialogue, however, the novel occasionally sacrifices verisimilitude for reheated comedy. The paradox of selling the old in order to sustain the present keeps the novel churning along. Soak up the bittersweet laughs, but, as one character says, tellingly, "Don't try to guess the end. Try not to figure it out." --Ben Guterson
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:19:10 -0400)
A novel on the oddball residents of a Fort Worth neighborhood. Among them is Aura, so fat she is unaware she is pregnant, and Carl who is dismantling his house to build a boat on which to sail away with Nadine, owner of a used clothing store.
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