Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Enzo, the noble canine narrator of Garth Stein’s sweet and wistful novel, is one wise dog. His owner, wannabe race car driver Denny Swift, is another story. Dog observes man as he passes through marriage, parenthood, and quite a lot of tragedy. It’s a narrative device that could easily be cutesy and cloying in the wrong hands, but Stein cleverly avoids the potential traps of mawkishness. Throughout the story, Enzo clings to the hope that his faithfulness will result in him coming back as a human in his next life. Both weepy and inspiring, The Art of Racing in the Rain had us crossing our fingers that Enzo would get his wish.
Christopher Evan Welch has a knack for delving into heart-wrenching material with finesse. Stein's tale of family, loss, redemption, and fast cars-recounted entirely from the perspective of a retriever-terrier mix named Enzo-ups the ante on the recent trend of high-concept anthropomorphism in popular fictions. Once listeners buy into Stein's premise, Welch faithfully delivers the goods. He is particularly effective in scenes where Enzo navigates the blurry area between his human-like thoughts and his base animal instincts (like when abandonment issues during a family medical emergency compel him to wreak havoc on a stuffed animal). Welch re-creates Enzo's pivotal moment of sheer bliss-riding on the track with his racecar driver human companion Denny-with evocative detail. The musical interludes at the start and end of the CD help preserve an earnest and dignified atmosphere. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 28).
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Love It So Much
One of my favorite books of all time. Also one of the only books that has brought me to tears. I read it every few years just to experience the magic again.