WHITE DOG by Romain Gary


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I cannot resist human suffering. I fill my books with it and they bring me a great deal of recognition, esteem and material comfort. . . ."" This one has been no slouch either, best-selling on the continent, exposing Gary's ""noble de luxe conscience"" with such incendiary sincerity that it cannot possibly be self-serving (or can it?) and combining the personal with the polemical in a kind of soulstomp. White Dog is the German Shepherd which Gary and his wife (Jean Seberg) took in only to find that he had been trained as an attack dog--against all blacks (by some Alabamians he later puts down in a pretty funny scene). Gary gives the dog to a black animal trainer of snakes to be reconditioned while he and Jean Seberg go on trying to counteract racism with Gary, minority man and provocateur, verbalizing all he witnesses around the world and in Chicago (up with the Panthers) and Seberg (that's what he calls his young wife) does her bit in a black school. At the end ""the sneering, teeth-baring animal in me"" has been totally repudiated: there have been attempts to poison the household's cats in resentment of ""that 'ghastly' movie touch"" about everything Seberg has tried to do--a white movie touch; while the dog has been retrained to attack whites. None of this is recollected in tranquillity but then it's a phobic reflection of the times and it should singe a popular consciousness which might not otherwise be reached.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1970
ISBN: 0226284301
Publisher: World