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Let the Dog Drive

( 1 )

Overview

It's 1975. Bud Salem, 18-years-old, is fleeing his mother's TV church and meets a woman pitching oranges in the Mojave. She's Sylvia Cushman, a 45-year-old housewife, who loves driving alone through the desert. They odyssey through western motels and Apache gas stations where Sylvia gives long lectures about Emily Dickinson and drags Bud up into the mesas to search for petroglyphs. After sharing adventures in Detroit, New York, and Amherst, the travelers part...

In many ways Let...

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Overview

It's 1975. Bud Salem, 18-years-old, is fleeing his mother's TV church and meets a woman pitching oranges in the Mojave. She's Sylvia Cushman, a 45-year-old housewife, who loves driving alone through the desert. They odyssey through western motels and Apache gas stations where Sylvia gives long lectures about Emily Dickinson and drags Bud up into the mesas to search for petroglyphs. After sharing adventures in Detroit, New York, and Amherst, the travelers part...

In many ways Let the Dog Drive is an askew detective novel— when a character dies under strange circumstances in Texas, Bud goes to the panhandle to uncover what happened. His strange narration does contain pleasures of the genre: a shootout inside an aquarium; a faked death; another shootout on a chicken farm in Texas...But Let the Dog Drive is also a freewheeling merging of many other genres and concerns— Hollywood, hardboiled novels of the 1930s, Emily Dickinson's white dress, hallucinatory cacti, The Book of Luke...And dogs.

A New York Times Notable Book, this madcap odyssey tells of a hitchhiker of strange origin and a frenetic red-headed Detroit housewife as they experience it all--from tainted hallucinatory cacti in Texas to gunplay with Iranian terrorists in Coney Island. A freewheeling tale with sharp-edged wit and brilliantly chaotic style.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"You'd think nothing would live up to this title, but the book, being more generous as well as witty, more than tops it...incandescent.”

-The New Yorker

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winner of New York University's Bobst Emerging Writers Award, this tedious first novel blends various genres: surreal satire, detective fiction, road trip and Barthelme-like fantasy, spiked with movie lore and literary allusions. The result is a hollow if technically proficient postmodernist exercise. Bud Salem, the 18-year-old narrator, flees California and his mother, a flaky televangelist. Hitchhiking in the Mojave Desert in 1975, he teams up with Sylvia Cushman, a ``literate housewife'' who perceives secret geometric patterns in Emily Dickinson's verse. Bud makes a pilgrimage to Dickinson's house in Amherst, Mass., and then goes on to Detroit, where he meets Sylvia's husband, Joshua, an auto engineer who tests cars for safety by having dogs drive the vehicles in bloody, fatal accidents. A wealthy Iranian debutante hiding from death squads, photographs of dogs' souls taken by Bud's father an ex-stuntman in Tarzan films and a shootout with a lunatic cowboy in Brooklyn's Coney Island aquarium are elements of a plot that careens from New York to New Orleans to Texas. Fans of old movies and hardboiled whodunits of the '30s may enjoy the recurring references. Dec.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814712054
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1993
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bowman was born in Racine, Wisconsin, but now lives in New York City. This, his first novel, was written in Montauk. He is currently writing a biography of Paul Cain (1902-1966), an enigmatic contemporary Hammett who lived and died in Hollywood.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2001

    David Bowman Conquers Disturbing

    In Let the Dog Drive, David Bowman sends his readers on a strange trip that will cease to surprise and disturb you. Beautifully vivid imagery will be sure to leave you inspired and awe-stricken.

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