THE DOGS: A Modern Bestiary by Rebecca Brown

THE DOGS: A Modern Bestiary

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A plotless novel by the author of, among others, What Keeps Me Here (1996), this one written in the form of a medieval bestiary. The result is more a literary exercise than novel per se, since what plot remains is largely surreal and revolves around the musings of a young woman living in a studio apartment with an ""imaginary"" pack of Doberman pinschers. Unbidden guests, the Dobermans have invaded the woman's home and exercise a strange reign of terror over her, led by their sadistic commander (""Miss Dog""), who can be seductive and abusive by turns. Each chapter is organized around an illustration that symbolizes its guiding theme (as in ""Heart . . . in which is illustrated Righteousness""). All are loosely organized at best, and digressions carry us even further afield--such as a chapter that's narrated by Little Red Riding Hood (""A big burly woodsman comes up to me and says he'll walk with me because there might be wolves, but I'm not afraid."")--to no discernible end. The whole is written up in the kind of overwrought prose (""I loved the awful beauty of the dog. . . . I was also afraid the dog would leave. For as much as she oppressed me I required her"") of little appeal anywhere outside the world of writing programs. A perfect miss: too straight-faced to be funny, too silly to be coherent, too obvious to be weird.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1998
ISBN: 0872863441
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: City Lights