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Dog years : a memoir
Mark Doty
Adult Nonfiction PS3554.O798 Z46 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Doty brings a mellow, soft-spoken dignity to the narration of his memoir, which chronicles the lives of the distinguished poet and author's beloved retrievers, Arden and Beau. The narrative thread comes together in the form of essays evoking the joy, tenderness, pain and loss in the compressed canine life spans of the two dogs. The four-legged drama takes shape amid the backdrop of Doty's human journey of grief and resiliency, particularly in regard to the loss of his longtime partner to AIDS and his subsequent glide into a new romantic relationship. Given Doty's literary pedigree, it should come as no surprise that he takes a meandering path in the autobiographic story line, pausing frequently to offer philosophical insights. The thoughtful pace and tone of Doty's audio performance brings to mind the spoken-word journals of NPR's This American Life. Audiences eager to cut to the chase for a classic inspirational dog saga may lose patience, but discerning listeners will appreciate Doty's perspective. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 12). (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Poet Doty (Still Life with Oysters and Lemon) celebrates the 16 lovely years his two beloved 70-pound Labs, Beau and Arden, gave him, but there's an ill wind blowing through the memoir. It concerns the inevitable truth that most dog owners only dimly accept-that they will probably outlive their canine companions. Against a backdrop of devastating human loss, both personal (the death of his partner) and public (9/11), Doty bears witness to the inexorable decline of his beloved retrievers. He well understands the risks he takes in writing about his pets while human calamity unfolds. Even so, he notes, "someone was here, an intelligence and sensibility, a complex of desires and memories, habits and expectationsgone from the world forever." This sad, sad book represents a curious blend of memoir, journal, literary criticism, and prose elegy, and it borrows some structural elements from drama and poetry. Its tone is plangent, its complex formal structure is like memory itself, and its exquisite pace reminds one of nothing so much as a stroll in the park with Fido. Poignant, intelligent, and quite simply superb; highly recommended for most collections, although the Emily Dickinson criticism may make it too literary for the Marley & Me crowd. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/06.]-Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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