The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein
The Art of Racing in the Rain Cover

The Art of Racing in the Rain


This incredibly sad novel is told from the perspective of (and within the lifetime of) a dog named Enzo. He comes by this name from his race car driving owner, Denny. Racing as a metaphor for life is both the theme and the constant focus of Enzo, who quotes his owner and other race car drivers with aphorisms such as "Your car goes where your eyes go."

Our narrator often feels trapped in dog form, and looks forward to reincarnation as a human. At times, the author seems to stray from the dog's focus to tell the main story. At other times, he fits this into the dogs head as imagination, tying back to daytime TV shows that Enzo has watched. This is cute, but goes a little beyond at times.

Enzo and Denny are well fleshed out; the rest of the characters are pretty flat. The evil in-laws are beyond creepy. The story has many sad points, a lot of death and dying, and yet I couldn't put it down at times. I understand there are both young adult and children's adaptations of this book by the same author - I can't imagine how they would work, and don't plan to suggest either for my 11 year old animal lover anytime soon. The film (shot here in Seattle) was a good version of the story, but I recommend the book.

WWE - fantasy? The protagonist nevers talks out loud though. Not sure this fits the genre. The author's other works are a better match for WWE.

Cautiously recommended at 3.5 stars.