Valor Dictus

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Thomas Friestad, Editor in Chief

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

There are countless novels out there centered around canine companions, but few as captivating and fulfilling as Stein’s. It is told from the reflective point of view of Enzo, a wizened dog on his deathbed. Enzo recounts his life with his owner, professional racer Denny, as the latter falls in love, endures the tragic loss of his wife to cancer and becomes tangled in a messy custody battle. However, Enzo is no ordinary dog; he firmly believes his soul is different from that of other dogs. He strives to absorb all the lessons his master’s hardships present so he can live a meaningful life after death, where he believes he will be reincarnated as a human. Why does he believe this? Because he watched it on the Discovery Channel, of course.

Enzo makes for an intelligent and witty narrator; he makes refreshing comparisons between Denny’s racing and his navigation through life’s obstacles, citing the mantra, “That which you manifest is before you.” However, his unrelated insights, specifically those regarding his frustration about monkeys gaining opposable thumbs before dogs, create humorous breaks in the storyline. The story blends commentary on human nature, suspense and emotion into a delectable experience for readers, without nary a dull moment to be found. “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a must-read among must-reads, and can leave dog-lovers everywhere in both stitches and tears by its conclusion.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain