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The Lost Dog (2007)

by Michelle de Kretser

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3341461,183 (3.36)1 / 87
"Set in present-day Australia and mid-20th century India, The Lost Dog?? is a haunting, beautifully written work that brilliantly counterpoints new cityscapes and their inhabitants with the wild, ancient continent beyond. With its atmosphere of menace and an acute sense of the unexplained in any story, The Lost Dog?? intriguingly highlights the collision of the primal and the civilised, modernity and the past and home and exile. A mystery, a love story, a celebration of dogs and the joy they bring us, and a meditation on the essence of art and nature, The Lost Dog?? is a gripping contemporary novel which explores the weight of history as well as different ways of seeing and comprehending the world."--From publisher description.… (more)
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» See also 87 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Rambling, thin meander with a lost dog as some kind of motif, covering old age, identity, colonial issues and with characters confused and arty and rather boring.
  MarilynKinnon | Nov 20, 2017 |
Meh. Wordy wordy literariness, it felt like I was being beaten over the head by the book, proclaiming loudly that it was Literature. As Tom searches for the dog, moments and conversations from the present and past are piled on top of each other, in an enormous heap that's supposed to be gradually revealing, but to me felt like a disorganised mess. There were some moments I enjoyed, but overall... not so much.

From the dust jacket, a quote that does a good job of summing up the writing within: "He is constantly drawn from the cerebral to the primitive - by his mother's infirmities, as well as by Nelly's attractions. The Lost Dog makes brilliant use of the conventions of suspense and atmosphere while leading us to see anew the conflicts between our bodies and our minds, the present and the past, the primal and the civilized." If that sounds appealing - well, then perhaps you will enjoy this, but it was not for me. Oh, and "... keeps us thinking until its rewarding close" - I did not find the close rewarding, except that it meant I was finally finished. Most pretentious book I've read this year. ( )
  evilmoose | Dec 14, 2015 |
Wonderfully rich writing is on display here, filled with minute observations of life. The story jumps around in time alarmingly which seems to be a regular part of this writer's style. I found it a bit hard to like the aimless main character Tom who plods through his issues wearily, and he doesn't seem all that convincingly male either. There is more interest in the life of the enigmatic artist Nelly, and how the themes of her life become artwork. The lost dog holds the story together, and I guess Tom is a bit of a lost dog himself. A lot of interesting points are made but not expanded upon, for example how we would go to any length to save a dog, but don't care much for sheep, cattle and elderly people (which explains why you have to read it to the end, in order to find out what happens to the dog!) ( )
  Estramir | Sep 19, 2015 |
I've been really getting into Aussie fiction as of late. This is an author I've not read before but she has a very interesting writing style. She's actually Sri Lankan but has been living in Australia for most of her life. The protagonist of this novel also immigrated to Australia when he was a teenager after beginning it in India. The novel doesn't focus on race nearly as much as it does aging, family, and a mysterious sort of relationship between a writer and an artist. One thing disarming about the novel is the sheer honesty and absence of kitsch that is apparent throughout the text, especially when tackling the nature of the relationship between the protagonist and his mother. I also liked how it left somewhat open ended in solving a mystery that we very slowly gain bits of pieces of information about, as the main character himself does, throughout the story. The lost dog is, in some ways, what ties it all together but in a completely different way seems to be a metaphor for something very important that is unfathomly found eventually.

Some memorable quotes:

p.85 "Tom said the scene reminded him of a woodcut in an old book of children's tales. It was like something remembered from a dream, said Nelly. 'Something marvelous and strange you can almost see under the skin of reality.'

p.146 "A perfect city is one you can walk out of."

p.183 "As long as we stay with Audrey, we have a roof over our heads. What can go wrong if you have a roof over your head?"

"It can fall in and crush you," said Tom.

p.233 "Tom knew that a lucky country was one where history happened to other people."

p.248-249 "To possess a city fully, it is necessary to have known it as a child, for children bring their private cartographies to the mapping of public places."

p. 285 "She sculpted the past according to whim, as a child plays with the future, each having an abundance of material."

"How could you know when something was the last time? wondered Iris. The last time a stranger turned to look at you in the street, the last time you could stand up while putting on your knickers, the last time there was no pain when you tried to turn over in bed, the last time you imagined your life would change for the better..."

p.298 "What was overwhelming, however, was the astonishment: the sheer scandal of falling. Tom was returned, in one swift instant, to childhood; for children, not having learned to stand on their dignity, are accustomed to being slapped by the earth."
( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
**** A Henry James Question.;
I still don't have time for writing reviews until end of semester - else I'll fail my course & I have missed too many days this month with this consumptive-like cough to warrant that happening without fueling the fire. Anyhow I could not comment on this one till I had read some Henry James (of which I've now read one novella of his - In the Cage). Why the need to read Henry James? Other's have likened de Kretser's writing to James and also the main character in The Lost Dog is writing a book on James. So far there is no obvious connection other than intensity of rumination. The link I feel is more tenuous and alludes perhaps to ghosts, which abound here but not In the Cage. Perhaps The Ambassadors which I have, might guide me. Anyone care to suggest another Henry James I should read?. I've look at the GR reviews on various James books, everyone seems to think he's a genius but can't say why? Is there any other author who writes like James that I should be aware of - perhaps more modern that might help me access him?
**************************************************
Library borrow. Something light. thoughts to come. ( )
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
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The whole of anything cannot be told.

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For Gus, of course
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Afterwards, he would remember paddocks stroked with light.
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"Set in present-day Australia and mid-20th century India, The Lost Dog?? is a haunting, beautifully written work that brilliantly counterpoints new cityscapes and their inhabitants with the wild, ancient continent beyond. With its atmosphere of menace and an acute sense of the unexplained in any story, The Lost Dog?? intriguingly highlights the collision of the primal and the civilised, modernity and the past and home and exile. A mystery, a love story, a celebration of dogs and the joy they bring us, and a meditation on the essence of art and nature, The Lost Dog?? is a gripping contemporary novel which explores the weight of history as well as different ways of seeing and comprehending the world."--From publisher description.

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Hachette Book Group

2 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 031600183X, 0316001848

 

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