Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Dogs of Babel

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."


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