Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

Paul Iverson calls home one afternoon from work and a police officer picks up his phone. He hurries home to find that his wife has fallen out of the apple tree and died. The only witness is their dog, Lorelei. Did Lexy fall or did she jump? The police mark her death as an accident but Paul isn't so sure. He takes a leave of absence from work as a linguistics professor to see if he can teach Lorelei to communicate what she saw.

As Paul works with his dog, he also explains how he met, fell in love with, and married Lexy. We also learn about her darker side and the moods that would grab her. Paul's friends start to worry about him, with good reason because he's become reclusive and obsessive about getting Lorelei to communicate with him.

This novel does a great job of explaining how loss can affect both man and animal. I found it quite interesting that at the start of the book, when Paul was grieving the most, Lexy was painted in a more positive light than later in the book as Paul works through his grief.

While I enjoyed the story telling through grief and loss, there were some decisions by Paul that made absolutely no sense to me and seemed to only be added to the book for shock value. I think the book could have made do without that.

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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