Di­vorce, Dog Style

Maria Flook Round­about Press (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $15.95 (308pp), 978-1-948072-01-4

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - MEG NOLA

At the cen­ter of Maria Flook’s Di­vorce, Dog Style is a hap­less, loyal, and beloved Ger­man shep­herd named But­ter, who has been di­ag­nosed with can­cer and will soon be put to sleep. But­ter’s im­pend­ing demise brings to­gether the var­i­ous char­ac­ters of this in­trigu­ing novel, who all ar­rive at But­ter’s owner Caro­line’s lovely New Eng­land farmhouse by the sea.

The novel en­com­passes a sin­gle day. With el­e­ments of a clas­sic tragedy, melan­choly ten­sion builds along with the pass­ing hours be­fore But­ter’s eu­thana­sia. Caro­line pre­pares sep­a­rate feasts for the dog and for her guests; blonde, full-fig­ured, and con­fi­dently nur­tur­ing, she has a gen­eral earth-and-sea-god­dess qual­ity, at­tract­ing men and, un­for­tu­nately, her share of drama.

The story’s nar­ra­tor is Grafton, who has been a friend and oc­ca­sional lover to Caro­line since their col­lege years at Bos­ton Univer­sity. He is in­trigued by and even jeal­ous of her other in­volve­ments, but is never fo­cused enough to com­mit to a last­ing re­la­tion­ship. Grafton’s tone is witty, sharp, and oc­ca­sion­ally po­etic, with a shrewd aware­ness of his own flaws. Caro­line knows Grafton well enough to keep a ro­man­tic dis­tance, but their other­wise can­did close­ness is ap­peal­ing and well de­vel­oped.

Set be­tween sea­sons and squalls, on the bor­der of the land and the ocean, and in a place aptly called Mid­dle­town, the novel has a sense of im­pend­ing tran­si­tions. Caro­line and Grafton are ap­proach­ing forty. Caro­line is nav­i­gat­ing a di­vorce, while Grafton pre­pares to start a new job. Caro­line’s step­son, whom she was quite close to, has re­cently died in an ac­ci­dent, leav­ing be­hind a haunt­ing ab­sence and more feel­ings of up­heaval and loss.

Though the sub­ject mat­ter may seem weighty, Grafton’s welcome per­spec­tive of­fers plenty of snide, sage, or soul­ful com­men­tary dur­ing Di­vorce, Dog Style’s sin­gu­larly stormy and emo­tion­ally in­tense dog day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.