A “superb blend of personal essays and journalistic articles” on everything from fatherhood to writing workshops to jazz musicians (Chicago Sun-Times).
“At once subtle and dazzling,” these pieces—collected from such publications as Esquire, Harper’s Magazine, and GQ—serve as both a wide-ranging journey through topics like art and music and an autobiographical look into the life of one of our most acclaimed literary figures, the author of such books as Stop-Time and Body & Soul and a director of the renowned Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa (Publishers Weekly).
“[An] interesting and well-done anthology. Conroy takes on such topics as learning to play pool, fatherhood, the value of now-disappearing small towns in instilling family values, the enthusiasms of jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, and, of course, the Writers’ Workshop.” —Library Journal
“Highly enjoyable and illuminating . . . Dogs Bark is simply one of the best books published in a long, long time.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Conroy (Body & Soul) delivers a running commentary on life in this collection of articles and essays, at once subtle and dazzling, written over the past 25 years. His observations range from warmly intimate (ruminations on sex and love, shooting pool as a kid) to anonymously civic (the meaning and vitality of smalltown America). In the first half of the book, he grapples with the memory of his remote father, embraces fatherhood himself and peruses the mysteries of life especially those he finds in reading ("escape") and writing ("experiment"), and even riffs on his position as chair of the famed Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. The second half leads readers into a foray of pieces Conroy has written on his second and well-known love, jazz. He trips into jam sessions with the Rolling Stones, waxes on his evolution as a pianist and profiles the great provocateurs in jazz. His exploration of Wynton Marsalis at 23 and later at 34 minutely reflects the arc of developments in the author's own life. Curiously, key moments in the essays resurface within each other as if in coda; the overlapping details makes reading them even more enjoyable.