Winner, Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction 2010. This edition comes with an introduction by Yann Martel, author of The Life of Pi.
Abandoned in a big city at the onset of winter, a hungry four-year-old boy follows a stray dog to her lair. There in the rich smelly darkness, in the rub of hair, claws and teeth, he joins four puppies suckling at their mother's teats. And so begins Romochka's life as a dog.
Weak and hairless, with his useless nose and blunt little teeth, Romochka is ashamed of what a poor dog he makes. But learning how to be something else…that's a skill a human can master. And one day Romochka will have to learn how to be a boy.
The story of the child raised by beasts is timeless. But in Dog Boy Eva Hornung has created such a vivid and original telling, so viscerally convincing, that it becomes not just new but definitive.
'Dog Boy is a wonderful novel, a tour de force.' Guardian
This gritty, richly imagined tale of an abandoned boy in a Moscow shantytown who comes to live with a pack of feral dogs more than lives up to its unlikely premise. Hornung (Fire, Fire, etc., written as Eva Sallis) tracks young Romochka's growth over two difficult years from a four-year-old whelp to a taut, street-smart alpha dog. The boy's evolution from tolerated outsider to trusted leader of this canine crew is believably portrayed, and Hornung capably draws a tawdry world of trash-pickers, beggars, and occasional friends. As he grows, so does his curiosity about the world of humans he has fled, leading to an inevitable collision when Romochka is captured by a scientist who wants to use him to further his career. Hornung knows how to wring emotion from a scene, making the bond between boy and dog deeply felt, while rarely running afoul of sentimentality. In her hands, this engrossing story becomes both an investigation into humanity and a vivid portrait of one of Russia's millions of lost children.