The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
Paul Iverson comes home one day to find the police in his backyard. His
wife is dead because of a fall from an apple tree. What happened? Did
she fall accidentally or did she commit suicide?
As the days
pass, Paul finds the books in their bookcases rearranged and other clues
that just don't seem to add up. The only witness to the event was their
dog, Lorelei. Paul, a linguist by profession, decides to try to teach
his dog to talk in order to find out what did indeed happen.
Interspersed with the trials of trying to teach his dog to communicate
is the Iversons' love story. Lexy, Paul's wife is one weird person. She
is up and down in her moods and she makes death masks for grieving
people. Paul wants desperately to find out what happened.
Paul eventually mistakenly and stupidly hooks up with a secret society
that performs terrible operations on dogs in order to let them produce
human sounds. This puts Lorelei in grave danger.
This book is
about profound loss and the grief one goes through when a loved one
dies. I enjoyed the story for the most part but found I didn't like or
even empathize with Lexy and indeed did not even understand her
feelings. I just plain didn't like her. But I did feel for Paul and the
path he must tread.
First Line: "Here is what we know, those of us who can speak to tell a story: On the afternoon of October 24, my wife Lexy Ransome, climbed to the top of the apple tree in our backyard and fell to her death."