Church of the Dog by Kaya McLaren, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Church of the Dog

Church of the Dog

4.6 5
by Kaya McLaren
     
 

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An unforgettable debut novel about finding a home, a safe haven, and family

Deep in Oregon farm country, Edith and Earl McRae are looking down the barrel of their fiftieth anniversary with none of the joy such a milestone should hold. Instead, they are stuck in a past that holds them to heartbreak and tragedy. Enter the mysterious and ever-so-slightly

Overview

An unforgettable debut novel about finding a home, a safe haven, and family

Deep in Oregon farm country, Edith and Earl McRae are looking down the barrel of their fiftieth anniversary with none of the joy such a milestone should hold. Instead, they are stuck in a past that holds them to heartbreak and tragedy. Enter the mysterious and ever-so-slightly magical Mara O’Shaunessey who appears on their ranch with the power to mend long broken fences and show them how to recognize the enchantment of their everyday lives. Gracefully capturing the strange alchemy of people and places, Kaya McLaren’s story of redemption and rediscovery will inspire readers to find the magic and power in every day shared with the people they love.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Christina Schwarz
Kaya McLaren's sincere and generous feelings for all the creatures of this world make this novel of comforting magic both heartfelt and heartening. (Christina Schwarz, author of Drowning Ruth and All Is Vanity)
Cammie McGovern
What a genuinely surprising novel Kaya McLaren has written, with characters that are each, in their own way, quietly magical and also heartbreakingly true. Like Barbara Kingsolver's early heroines, Mara O'Shaunnessey lives in the real world but reminds us, in all her actions, that animals can be messengers of truth and love has transformative powers. (Cammie McGovern, author of Eye Contact)
Luanne Rice
Church Of The Dog is a radiant novel that honors the broken among us, tenderly healing with its love, humor, and understanding. Kaya McLaren is a deeply wonderful writer. From the opening scene of Mara in her grandmother's garden, through the wrenching finale on the ranch, I was stunned by this book. It's a classic on the spirituality of everyday life... (Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of Light Of The Moon)
Lynne Hinton
This is a sweet, whimsical tale of love and friendship, a slice of pure life. It is a beautiful story that is not to be missed. (Lynne Hinton, author of Friendship Cake and The Arms Of God)
Sarah Addison Allen
With prose as clear and pure as mountain water, Kaya McLaren has written a testament to the plain sense of things. CHURCH OF THE DOG is spiritual, even a little magical, but it's also incredibly practical. McLaren has a glorious way of finding beauty in the bigger picture. A lovely, uplifting book. (Sarah Addison Allen, author of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen)
Publishers Weekly

In this treacly reprint of a novel first published in 2000 (by a now-defunct indie press), Edith and Earl McRae have lived on their Oregon farm for 60 years, but know their time is coming to an end. After a withdrawn Earl discovers a lump in his neck, he struggles to reconnect with his wife and his alienated grandson, Daniel. Into this family tragedy strolls Mara, a chaotic figure who sees auras and appears in other characters' dreams-in other words, she's the stereotypical freethinking outsider who opens stoics to the redemptive powers of love. The result is an ersatz inspirational novel that mistakes the characters' tendencies to natter on about God and ethics and spout goofy New Age-isms for plot or character development. (June)

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From the Publisher
"Kaya McLaren's sincere and generous feelings for all the creatures of this world make this novel of comforting magic both heartfelt and heartening."
—Christina Schwarz, author of DROWNING RUTH and ALL IS VANITY

"What a genuinely surprising novel Kaya McLaren has written, with characters that are each, in their own way, quietly magical and also heartbreakingly true. Like Barbara Kingsolver's early heroines, Mara O'Shaunnessey lives in the real world but reminds us, in all her actions, that animals can be messengers of truth and love has transformative powers."
—Cammie McGovern, author of EYE CONTACT

"CHURCH OF THE DOG is a radiant novel that honors the broken among us, tenderly healing with its love, humor, and understanding. Kaya McLaren is a deeply wonderful writer. From the opening scene of Mara in her grandmother's garden, through the wrenching finale on the ranch, I was stunned by this book. It's a classic on the spirituality of everyday life..."
—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of LIGHT OF THE MOON

"This is a sweet, whimsical tale of love and friendship, a slice of pure life. It is a beautiful story that is not to be missed."
—Lynne Hinton, author of FRIEND:SHIP CAKE and THE ARMS OF GOD

"With prose as clear and pure as mountain water, Kaya McLaren has written a testament to the plain sense of things. CHURCH OF THE DOG is spiritual, even a little magical, but it's also incredibly practical. McLaren has a glorious way of finding beauty in the bigger picture. A lovely, uplifting book."
—Sarah Addison Allen, author of GARDEN SPELLS and THE SUGAR QUEEN

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440630552
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/27/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
482,795
File size:
285 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Kaya McLaren's sincere and generous feelings for all the creatures of this world make this novel of comforting magic both heartfelt and heartening."
ùChristina Schwarz, author of DROWNING RUTH and ALL IS VANITY

"What a genuinely surprising novel Kaya McLaren has written, with characters that are each, in their own way, quietly magical and also heartbreakingly true. Like Barbara Kingsolver's early heroines, Mara O'Shaunnessey lives in the real world but reminds us, in all her actions, that animals can be messengers of truth and love has transformative powers."
ùCammie McGovern, author of EYE CONTACT

"CHURCH OF THE DOG is a radiant novel that honors the broken among us, tenderly healing with its love, humor, and understanding. Kaya McLaren is a deeply wonderful writer. From the opening scene of Mara in her grandmother's garden, through the wrenching finale on the ranch, I was stunned by this book. It's a classic on the spirituality of everyday life..."
ùLuanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of LIGHT OF THE MOON

"This is a sweet, whimsical tale of love and friendship, a slice of pure life. It is a beautiful story that is not to be missed."
ùLynne Hinton, author of FRIEND:SHIP CAKE and THE ARMS OF GOD

"With prose as clear and pure as mountain water, Kaya McLaren has written a testament to the plain sense of things. CHURCH OF THE DOG is spiritual, even a little magical, but it's also incredibly practical. McLaren has a glorious way of finding beauty in the bigger picture. A lovely, uplifting book."
ùSarah Addison Allen, author of GARDEN SPELLS and THE SUGAR QUEEN

Meet the Author

Kaya McLaren teaches art and lives on the east slope of Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state with her dog, Big Cedar. Her second novel, On the Divinity of Second Chances, will be published by Penguin in winter 2009.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Church of the Dog 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a way to embrace life with unspeakable joy even when disappointments and unexpected tragedies threaten to pummel away one's enthusiasm. Mara O'Shaunnessy, art teacher, mystic, practical advisor, energy healer, and questioner sweeps into the McRae family's world on an Oregon cattle farm. Edith and Earl are astonished initially by how this woman, whose ex-fiance was cheap enough to charge her for a car ride to the hospital, beautifies her little cabin with a vivid painting of a dog, a dog who looks just like the one who shows up a few days later to stay. Oh, she also adopts a hog about to be slaughtered. Her mercy seems to know no end, yet she's also about to learn some deeper wisdom through some heart-rending events. In the meantime, she learns to dance and her joy infects the McRae marriage with some luscious, restored romance! Just lovely! Daniel, Earl and Edith's son, comes home at the request of his grandfather. He really doesn't want to be there but he also is shocked at the change he sees in his grandparents. He's got a wound larger than the deepest canyons in the Oregon countryside and no one can heal it for him but himself. Mara and Daniel's grandparents slowly and gently bring this young man back to considering how precious life is and how much mourning and rage block and destroy it. Some novels have tragic events that turn into such a downer that the reader comes close to being overwhelmed! THIS ISN'T ONE OF THEM! This is one of the most beautiful novels this reviewer has read in a long time. No, it's not soapy or contrived. It's just full of wonderful, passionate, honest and graceful living and loving in a way that poignantly touches the reader's mind and heart. Whether it's waltzing lessons, bathing in a sauna while engaged in remarkable conversations, mourning the loss of loved ones, helping to birth calves, cooking a delicious meal and so much more, this author knows how to make each and every event seem like it's the most important moment in one's life. Buy this book, read it, share it with your friends, your local book clubs, anyone, everyone! Kaya McLaren is a talented, reflective and wise writer who has something to convey to everyone with her unique, uncompromising, funny, open and touching characters. Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on June 19, 2008
harstan More than 1 year ago
In rural Northeast Oregon, Edith and Earl McRae have been married for decades, but over time they have drifted apart though they live together on their farm. Edith reflects back that the somewhat reticent Earl may have loved her, but probably never thought of her as a friend. However while shaving seventy-nine years old Earl nicks his neck he places toilet paper on the cut only to discover a cyst just like his late dog Blue had. He assumes it is cancer. Assuming the cyst is a warning sign that he will soon meet his maker, he is determined to do two things before he dies he needs to regain what he believes he let slide his ties to his wife and his estranged grandson Daniel, an Alaskan fisherman running away from home since his parents died years ago. Earl campaigns in person with Edith and by letter asking Daniel to come home to his grandpa¿s ¿land of success and failure¿. Mara O¿Shaugnessy arrives in town as the new art teacher. She buys a pet, Harvey the Hog. Tim Grennan allows Mara and Harvey to reside on his family¿s ranch next door to the McRae farm Soon Mara¿s mischief brings happiness and chaos to all she meets especially her neighbors the McRaes. When Daniel returns, hr is worried about his grandpa dying, but instead he finds his grandparents happy their catalyst Mara but even she with her whimsy upbeat demeanor fears she will never reach the soul of the stoic sad fisherman. --- This engaging inspirational relationship drama is an interesting tale that rotates points of view between Mara, Edith, Earl and Daniel. Thus the story line is obviously character driven starting with Mara who works her optimistic magic bringing joy to all she meets, especially the elderly McRae couple. Although somewhat stereotyped with its New Age wisdom, Kaya McLaren provides an inspiring story that says fills the cup up if you feel it is half empty. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have shared this book with 2 book clubs. It has been universally loved. It contains much 'woman wisdom.' You leave it hoping the world is full of people like the characters in the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had me from the fist page. The authors unusal mix of human qualities and unearthly talents makes the characters memorable and easy to relate to. You should really read this wonderful book!
psgh62 More than 1 year ago
Kaya Mclaren is a wonderful writer. Mara, Daniel, Edith and Earl are wonderful characters. This book is rich with a great plot and a touching story. I read this for book club and we had a fun discussion. Well worth the read.