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DOG PEOPLE by Cris Mazza


by Cris Mazza

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-56889-055-1
Publisher: Coffee House

A quirky new work by the author of Your Name Here: ________ (1994), etc., focuses on the sexual power struggles of two long- married couples in terms best understood by their pet dogs. Morgan, an aging dancer in his mid-30s, has grown bored with his listless wife, Fanny, a would-be decorator who waits tables part-time. Scott, the middle-aged owner of a catering service and Fanny's boss, has long felt alienated by his own marriage to sexless Suzanne, who only wants to maintain the status quo. What these two couples have in common is a preoccupation with their dogs, a beautiful husky and a friendly springer spaniel—both of which have begun responding to family tensions with neurotic behavior of their own. The dogs provide a common point of interest for Fanny and Scott; the more he talks with Fanny about doggie problems, the more arid and unbearable the rest of his life appears. The two begin meeting in the park, ostensibly to exercise their dogs. Morgan, obsessed with his career problems and with a lesbian dancer named Renee, doesn't care about their meetings, and Suzanne, offstage baking cookies, is quite unaware of them. Inevitably, Fanny falls into an affair with Scott, probably because it's her nature to submit: She yields to Scott, to Renee, whose determination to succeed as a dancer leaves no one in her path unharmed, and even to a female acquaintance determined to breed Fanny's husky with a wolf and create her own new champion breed. When Scott and Fanny make the break with their spouses, each member of the drama responds in doglike fashion—that is, according to his or her status in the pack. In the end, it's all too clear who's alpha and who's not in this dog-eat-dog world—but as long as a person remembers where he stands, happiness is possible. Hardly romantic, but often very amusing. Mazza is one cold- blooded comedian.