Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

Released: 2003

Carolyn Parkhurst's The Dogs of Babel is one of my favorite books written in recent years. The Dogs of Babel is about a man who mourns his wife's accidental death, with their dog being the only witness to her falling off a ladder while picking fruit out of their tree.

The husband in distress, a linguistics professor named Paul Iverson, becomes obsessed with trying to teach his dog to speak so he can find out what really happened on the day his wife Lexy died. Adding to the grief are various clues Paul's wife left around the house before she died, leading Paul to believe Lexy's death was more suicidal than accidental. As Paul's memories of Lexy are revealed to the reader throughout The Dogs of Babel, we learn that she was impulsive, moody, and displayed common signs of someone who was depressed and troubled enough to maybe commit suicide.

Paul also becomes involved in a wild cult-like group who go to extremes to make their dogs talk like humans. This cult does horrible things one would never think of doing to a dog physically to get them to talk...like having surgery performed on their jaws and other monstrosities.

I love this book because it is unpredictable and the plot is unique. I've never read a book quite like The Dogs of Babel, and I have sought out all of Parkhurst's other novels since. The book will have you glued to it from start to finish.

When all is said and done, The Dogs of Babel leaves a lasting impression on readers; combining romance, tragedy, and horror in one well-written novel by Carolyn Parkhurst.

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