The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is an interesting read similar to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Both books are told from the point of view of a dog. In the case of Edgar Sawtelle, that dog’s story is a re-telling of Hamlet. In the case of Racing in the Rain, the dog’s story is a Hindu-like tale of longing for the next life.
Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain, is an enlightened and devoted creature. His devotion belongs to his master, Denny, who is a mechanic who dreams of being a racecar driver. A substantial amount of the book is dedicated to explaining racecar driving in great detail. Too much is said about driving and not enough is said from the point of view of Enzo.
Enzo is the most endearing part of the book. From his desire to have a tongue that can talk and opposable thumbs, to his fierce protectiveness of Denny and his family, these make Enzo a well-developed, heart-filled character. The rest of the characters are a little one-dimensional compared to Enzo (perhaps that was the point).
The story is readable and sweet, but ultimately a bit shallow. The author makes the connection that Enzo and Denny have a more important connection than Denny’s connection to his own wife and, sometimes, also his daughter. A dog can be man’s best friend in Stein’s writing, but my question is: should it?
Disclosure: This book was purchased by the reviewer and no compensation was received for the review. Amazon links are affiliate links.