The New York Times bestselling novel from Garth Stein–a heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of a dog’s efforts to hold together his family in the face of a divisive custody battle.
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.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Garth Stein is the author of Enzo Races in the Rain!, based on the New York Times bestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain (and its tween adaptation, Racing in the Rain). His other works include A Sudden Light, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, Raven Stole the Moon, and a play, Brother Jones. He is the cofounder of Seattle7Writers.org, a nonprofit collective of sixty-two Northwest authors dedicated to fostering a passion for the written word. Garth lives in Seattle with his family and his dog, Comet.
Hometown:Seattle, Washington, USA
Date of Birth:December 6, 1964
Place of Birth:Los Angeles, California
Education:BA Columbia University, Columbia College, '87, MFA Columbia University, School of the Arts, '90
Read an Excerpt
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature. And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do in order to communicate clearly and effectively. In order to make my point understood without question. I have no words I can rely on because, much to my dismay, my tongue was designed long and flat and loose, and therefore, is a horribly ineffective tool for pushing food around my mouth while chewing, and an even less effective tool for making clever and complicated polysyllabic sounds that can be linked together to form sentences. And that's why I'm here now waiting for Denny to come home—he should be here soon—lying on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor in a puddle of my own urine.
I'm old. And while I'm very capable of getting older, that's not the way I want to go out. Shot full of pain medication and steroids to reduce the swelling of my joints. Vision fogged with cataracts. Puffy, plasticky packages of Doggie Depends stocked in the pantry. I'm sure Denny would get me one of those little wagons I've seen on the streets, the ones that cradle the hindquarters so a dog can drag his ass behind him when things start to fail. That's humiliating and degrading. I'm not sure if it's worse than dressing up a dog for Halloween, but it's close. He would do it out of love, of course. I'm sure he would keep me alive as long as he possibly could, my body deteriorating, disintegrating around me, dissolving until there's nothing left but my brain floating in a glass jar filled with clear liquid, my eyeballs drifting atthe surface and all sorts of cables and tubes feeding what remains. But I don't want to be kept alive. Because I know what's next. I've seen it on TV. A documentary I saw about Mongolia, of all places. It was the best thing I've ever seen on television, other than the 1993 Grand Prix of Europe, of course, the greatest automobile race of all time in which Ayrton Senna proved himself to be a genius in the rain. After the 1993 Grand Prix, the best thing I've ever seen on TV is a documentary that explained everything to me, made it all clear, told the whole truth: when a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man.
I've always felt almost human. I've always known that there's something about me that's different than other dogs. Sure, I'm stuffed into a dog's body, but that's just the shell. It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human.
I am ready to become a man now, though I realize I will lose all that I have been. All of my memories, all of my experiences. I would like to take them with me into my next life—there is so much I have gone through with the Swift family—but I have little say in the matter. What can I do but force myself to remember? Try to imprint what I know on my soul, a thing that has no surface, no sides, no pages, no form of any kind. Carry it so deeply in the pockets of my existence that when I open my eyes and look down at my new hands with their thumbs that are able to close tightly around their fingers, I will already know. I will already see.
The door opens, and I hear him with his familiar cry, "Yo, Zo!" Usually, I can't help but put aside my pain and hoist myself to my feet, wag my tail, sling my tongue around, and shove my face into his crotch. It takes humanlike willpower to hold back on this particular occasion, but I do. I hold back. I don't get up. I'm acting.
I hear his footsteps, the concern in his voice. He finds me and looks down. I lift my head, wag my tail feebly so it taps against the floor. I play the part.
He shakes his head and runs his hand through his hair, sets down the plastic bag from the grocery that has his dinner in it. I can smell roast chicken through the plastic. Tonight he's having roast chicken and an iceberg lettuce salad.
"Oh, Enz," he says.
He reaches down to me, crouches, touches my head like he does, along the crease behind the ear, and I lift my head and lick at his forearm.
"What happened, kid?" he asks.
Gestures can't explain.
"Can you get up?"
I try, and I scramble. My heart takes off, lunges ahead because no, I can't. I panic. I thought I was just acting, but I really can't get up. Shit. Life imitating art.
"Take it easy, kid," he says, pressing down on my chest to calm me. "I've got you."
He lifts me easily, he cradles me, and I can smell the day on him. I can smell everything he's done. His work, the auto shop where he's behind the counter all day, standing, making nice with the customers who yell at him because their BMWs don't work right and it costs too much to fix them and that makes them mad so they have to yell at someone. I can smell his lunch. He went to the Indian buffet he likes. All you can eat. It's cheap, and sometimes he takes a container with him and steals extra portions of the tandoori chicken and yellow rice and has it for dinner, too. I can smell beer. He stopped somewhere. The Mexican restaurant up the hill. I can smell the tortilla chips on his breath. Now it makes sense. Usually, I'm excellent with elapsed time, but I wasn't paying attention because of my emoting.
He places me gently in the tub and turns on the handheld shower thing and says, "Easy, Enz."The Art of Racing in the Rain
A Novel. Copyright © by Garth Stein. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
What People are Saying About This
“The perfect book for anyone who knows that some of our best friends walk beside us on four legs; that compassion isn’t only for humans; and that the relationship between two souls...meant for each other never really comes to an end.”
“I savored Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain for many reasons: a dog who speaks, the thrill of competitive racing, a heart-tugging storyline, andbest of allthe fact that it is a meditation on humility and hope in the face of despair.”
“The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, andmost especiallythe canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story is told from the viewpoint of a dog. It's a bit strange to think that a dog would be able to communicate a story this complex, but once you suspend your disbelief, it's possible to put yourself in Enzo's place and relate to the characters.Denny Swift is a race car driver who falls in love with Eve and they have a little girl named Zoe before Eve finds out that she's dying of brain cancer. Enzo knew that something was wrong but wasn't able to communicate that information to Eve. The story continues detailing the changes that take place in Denny and Enzo's lives as Eve's illness and its results effect their future. The characters are very stereotypical as well as one dimensional and the story is tired from overuse. The only bright spot was the unusual narration by Enzo. I read this book on the recommendation of a friend (not LT) because she thought it was cute coming from the dog. Maybe in her opinion, not mine.
I wasn't sure I was going to appreciate a story told from a dog's point of view but this audio book was life enhancing and sure beats the inane t.v. that's on these days. I laughed aloud quite a few times as I listened to the dog describing his days and his desire to come back as a man (with thumbs).
This is a great book. A client and now friend recommended it to me because I am being faced with having to make some tough decisions with my two older dogs; and I now think more about how they are feeling and what they would want. I think my dogs are happy I read the book. I also loved the references to race car driving. I have recommended this book to many people and thay have all thanked me. It really makes you stop and think about things. Great book!
Audio book, great voice doing the reading. GOOD listening while driving.
I thoroughly loved this book. I never wanted it to end, as I felt Enzo was my companion. He made me laugh, cry, feel extraordinaly happy, and very sad. He took us through life which in so many ways could be compared to experiences we all go through. The comparisons to racing were unbelievable. One of the best books I have read in many years.
This is a great book. It has sad parts but the twist at the end makes it better. I honestly looked at my dogs a bit differently after starting this book. I just wondered what they were thinking. I listened to this as an audio book and the reader was really good. I've recommended this book to so many people. It really is such a unique story/perspective.
I purchased this book as I love stories about dogs...I got so much more than that! As the summary says, the story is written from the dog's point of view, but he retells the life of his owner, from the time the dog enters it as a pup to the point when he dies. This is more a story about life, about dealing with adversity and the lessons that the dog learns by observation. If you are looking for a story about life lessons, of seeing through adversity and a story of encouragement, this is definitely for you!. This is one I will be reading again!
I hated for this story to end. I listened to the audio verison, which was excellent. The dog telling the story -- I fell in love with this pooch! He is a great story teller, and loves his family. He is not only a smart doggie, but spiritual as well. I hope the author continues in this vein.
A good story written from the perspective of the pet dog. There is good racing, good drama, and stong personal character traits including selflessness represented in the book. Some spirtual themes including reincarnation on the part of the dog did not set well with my traditional Christian beliefs.