Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dog Years a meditation on mortality

Books now read in ’07: 26
Title: An Unfinished Season
Author: Ward Just
Genre: Fiction
Date Completed: 3-27Pages: 251

An Unfinished Season only serves to secure my respect for Just as a writer. Many writers today would have done damage to this delicate narrative. Just handles it with dazzling tenderness, letting the story unfold quietly into a powerful conclusion. Set in Chicago during the Eisenhower Administration, it is the coming of age story of Wils Ravan. Wils is in the process of having his heart broken and coming to an understanding of the world. “ . . . now there was one less unknown unknown.”

Books now read in ’07: 27
Title: Dog Years
Author: Mark Doty
Genre: Memoir
Date Completed: 3-28
Pages: 216

The best books serve to connect you and the writer. In reading such a book there is that moment or moments when you say, yes, that it is it. That is what I feel. That is what I thought. What I experienced. Dog Years had that emotional resonance for me. Doty, a poet, writes of the lives and deaths of his two beloved Labs, Beau and Arden, in what becomes a profound meditation on mortality.

Last year, I felt my life had become a country song. I lost my mother in January after a five-year battle with cancer. Four months later my Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Regis, had to put down. I had time to prepare for mom’s death and was with her when she died. Regis’ death was unexpected and I was away on business. His loss was devastating. In reading Dog Years I know that Doty and others understand the depth and pain of that loss. A loss that is with me still.

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