I don't understand why people recommend this book for dog lovers. There's graphic animal abuse and animal torture. A poor sweet dog suffers because its master wants to find out "the truth". Be warned ...this is not a sunny, My Dog Skip kind of story. I wish I hadn't read this book. Needless to say, I was disappointed with the story.
Despite the downright craziness of the plot, this is a touching an emotionally moving puzzle of a story. I would say that the central motif weaving through the story is language - the language barrier between owner and dog, the unspoken language between husband and wife that harbors secrets, the language spoken in our subconscious that somehow television psychics become attuned to, and the wife's poetic language that works itself from a penultimate, odd act into a real clue into her psyche.
If you're intrigued, give this book some time. You won't need much, as it's a relatively fast read.
Obviously I'm a minority of one. I hated this book, and I find it amazing that others are recommending it for dog lovers. How maiming and torturing a dog to satisfy one's own self obsession makes it a "touching love story" is beyond me. (And just as a side note, you must have language first in order to form and retrieve memories.)
I also don't understand why this book is recommended to dog lovers. There is a vivid, disturbing element about trying to restructure dogs' anatomy so they can talk, which I found very distressing. I'm such a dog lover that I REALLY didn't like this book. It was just too strange & very upsetting. Be warned if you read this that it's not a typical dog-lovers' book.
This is a very unique book about a man who returns home from work to discover that his wife has died while he's been gone. The only witness to the death is the family dog, so the man attempts to communicate with his dog to discover the reason his beloved wife is no longer with him.
This book is very strange, yet slightly addictive. I couldn't put it down in some parts, but in others, I just wanted to walk away. It's a very intriguing story, and a rather quick read.
A beautiful read. By the time I had finished the first page I knew I was going to need to finish the book in one sitting. The characters are carefully developed and the story spins back and forth from the present to the past to slowly spiral to its inevitable conclusion. This is one of those stories that's going to live in my brain forever. If you liked The Time Traveler's Wife, you'll like this one.
This is a great book. What would you do if the only witness to the love-of-your-life's death was the family dog? Try to teach the dog to speak? Very well-written and believable - not what you'd expect in a book about trying to teach the dog to speak.
This book was interesting at first to get into but once I got to the major plot twist I was horrified but at the same time I couldn't stop reading. Once I finished the book I didn't really feel a sense of peace. I felt like there was a heavy stone in the pit of my stomach. I tend to think of characters as real people sometimes and I don't know how I feel about Lexy, I'm angry and upset at her character development.
I see that there are people who either love it or hate it.. I'm more in the middle but this will not be a book that I will want to read again.
A most interesting book, written with an amazing twist of intelligence. As one reads it, the the common thought is that it is a sweet story of loss of love and coping with it. However, upon finishing the book, I found myself greatly disturbed, wondering who exactly is the mentally ill, and who is the sane? Upon reading it, you may be able to answer this question for yourself.
After finishing this book, I went into such a funk. Had I seen a Hallmark commercial of any kind, I probably would have started bawling.
However, this is not to say that this book isn't fantastic. It absolutely is. This book made me think and it touched me in an obvious way. This is a quite a different reaction from many of the other books I have read, which are often meaningless ways to pass some time.
This is a story about an incredibly deep romance between two people. The two participants are so different, but yet they bring out the best in each other. We find out about this romance after tragedy has struck.
As you are reading a review of the book, you know that the story occurs after the death of Paul's wife Lexy and that he is seeking meaning to her death. So, the book is also largely about grief and recovering from it.
I didn't want this book to end, and I read it in an afternoon. It was fantastic, hope you enjoy it too!!
This was a very interesting book. Different from anything I've ever read. I would definitely recommend it to everyone! His wife dies from a fall from the top of a tree in the back yard. He has lots of questions - why was she in the tree? Did she jump on purpose? Was it an accident? Only her dog was there to witness the event, so he decides to teach his dog to talk so that he can find out what happened.
This mess doesn't simply disappoint me, it angers me. I'd say I finish most every book I start, no matter how awful. Less than one out of twenty reads will I find impossible to complete. But I loathed this book so much I have to create a new category: Books I finished accidentally, since I couldn't stop thinking "It Can't Get Any Worse!" but, nonetheless, DO. If it presented itself as nothing more than a trite pulp romance, then it would bug me much less than it does. It comes, however, smugly trumpeting its depth while displaying a profundity about as vast as the palate offered by some run-down chain restaurant in a decaying suburban strip mall. Complete with the least-convincingly-male narrator I've ever come across, its shallow attempts to portray a bohemian central character's âquirksâ as ominously inevitable signs of underlying, ultimately fatal, mental illness read like an Onion-style satire of banality masquerading as insight. The writing is not only just terrible, it's incompetence clearly believing its own alleged brilliance. To add insult to injury, the supposed âmysteryâ is âsolvedâ by something the narrator has known all along, but is conveniently withheld until one of the most tritely shoehorned plots in decades demands its revelation in order to bring this self-indulgent tripe to a close. Inexplicably, this book arrives highly recommended by some pretty impressive people whose taste (and/or sobriety while reading) must now all be called into question by default. Just. Astoundingly. Bad.
Sad but interesting soriy about how the main character tried to get his dog to converse and tell him about how and why his wife died. The main character is so comsumed with "why" that he will try any means to find out. Since the dog was the only witness that day, he tries through various methods to teach the dog to converse in an understandable language. Although his friends feel this is far fetched, there are several successfull studies that the character uses to show that if can be done. But it also shows a different side of human nature and animal cruelty that I found offensive.
This is one of the most unusual and memorable books I have ever read. A man's wife is dead, having fallen out of a tree. Did she fall or did she jump? The only witness was her dog. The grieving widower sets out to see if he can't teach the dog to communicate with him, to tell him. Very, very likeable characters. Great read.
This book, ironically since it is about giving the speechless speech, took my breath away. Parkhurst tackles several subjects, weaving them together to tell a heart breaking but classic story of a man and his dog. After his wife dies, the bereaved husband is stunned. What happened? Was her death truly an accident? Being a linguist, he looks to his dog for answers, embarking (no pun intended) on a frustrating journey. On this journey he discovers a seedy underbelly of men who attempt to give their dogs the ungodly power of speech.
But what is truly stunning about this book is the way Parkhurst portrays grief. Instead of an image of a widower sitting at home or going out and forming meaningless relationships, Parkhurst creates a character who hides his grief in the most impossible task. In this work, he is jumping down a rabbit hole in order to hide from his grief. All he has to do is climb out of it and truly look around his own home to find the answer he needs.
I think this book is ultimately about grieving the loss of someone to depression. What is depression and what forms does it take? Can someone still be highly functional, and yet deeply depressed? When can someone grieving from a loved one lost to depression accept that they are not to blame?
I fear I am not eloquently expressing the beauty of this book. All I can recommend is to read it yourself.
The Dogs of Babel is a very touching book about coping with the death of a loved one, as well as a mystery about how that death happened. Reading the description, I expected this to be more of a story about the bond between people and dogs, or the relationship between Paul and his dog, Lorelei, but that turned out to be more of a side plot.
Although the book was an intense and quick read, I had hoped for a positive, maybe even magical, ending and was disappointed when the mystery was resolved.
Overall, this is a bittersweet story about love and loss. If you read it expecting a happy or wonderous resolution, you will be disappointed.
I bought this book, simply becasue I LOVE DOGS. This is a story about a man who so adored his wife that he tried to teach the only eye witness to her suicide, her dog, to talk so he could learn why she did it. Does he succede? Yes and no.
Very different plot...a man, a linguist, is going to teach his dog to talk as the dog was the only witness to his wife's suspicious death. Could have been very hokey, this premise, but instead it was serious, sad, and worked out just the way it should have. I recommend this book.
A beautiful but quick read, really pulls you into the character's relationships. The writing was excellent and the plot, while at times disturbing, was well-developed throughout; an emotional and unusual book.
You have got to read this book. This guy wants to teach his dog to talk, because the dog is the only witness to his wifes death, and he wants the dog to be able to tell him what happened. Amazing story. Wonderfully written. Very entertaining.
I wasn't sure if I liked this book after I read it, but it stuck in my brain, so I reread it about a year later. A touching look at how people deal with grief and pain, looking to the outside so they don't have to acknowledge what they know on the inside.
Even though this book is a little sad I really enjoyed it. It is about a man who's wife is found dead by a tree in the backyard. The question is brought forth accident or suicide? The only witness to her death was her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lorlei. In his grief, the man decides he is going to teach the dog to speak so that he can find out what really happened to his wife. Without revealing the story, it will suffice to say that in the end he does find out what lead to his wife's death. This story leaves you with a feeling that maybe you don't know the people in your life as well as you think you do. It also makes you think about your own masks that you wear everyday... The book explores the husbands reactions to his loss and his groping their past lives for answers.
I found the whole premise of trying to force a dog to talk - and the secret society involved in this theory - a little sickening. I suppose it shows the depth of a man's grief over the loss of his wife. It was off-putting. Not one of my favorites.
This is a beautifully written love story and a mystery. A young husband tries to uncover the reason for his wife's death. This is a huge task considering that the sole witness was the couple's dog! This is a really unusual story, but one that should definately be read.
I picked it up this book and saw that it was about a grieving young man who wants to find out the nature of his wife's death, by teaching his dog (the only witness) to talk.
I know, I know, that's what I said. Weird! So I was intrigued, not by the premise, but by wondering just how the author was going to pull this one off!
She did a good job! The book was well written, and there were several flashbacks which took us back to the relationship of the couple in all of it's stages. I loved the charecters, I loved the dog. It was a love story, and a mystery all rolled into one. Pick it up.
This was a short, fast read. I really enjoyed the beginning, but soon found myself wondering how and why this couple came together and then stayed together. They both had their own issues which became more clear as the book progressed. It was well written, but it did leave me shaking my head.
I wouldn't exactly call this a love story, but I can't really classify it under anything else. It sort of needs a category of its own, and that's why I find it so intriguing. This book is unique, and though it's not the best book I've ever read, it's pretty much the most interesting, different, and therefore worthwhile novel I've read in a while.
What do I think of this book? The honest answer is I simply don't know. I know that seems odd but I can't really decide whether I liked it or not. As a huge animal lover I was mortified at the abuse in this book (not by the main character) and many times wanted to stop reading. However, I found myself drawn into the book and couldn't put it down. I stayed up until 5 in the morning just to finish because I HAD to know what happen next and how the story would end. This book takes you into the minds of disturbed people and fills your head with images of very cruel abuse towards the dogs. At the same time you can feel the main character's grief at the loss of his wife. The author does to a great job at bringing his pain to life.
Would I recommend this book to someone? The answer is again, I don't know. If you are interested in what I have said then read the book but be warned that it is NOT a happy story.
A wonderful story of a man coming to terms with his wife's death by attempting to teach his dog to speak. The way the author intermixes the couple's past history and his present without her was moving. You can feel his pain and desparation to find answers about her death. Beautifully written and a definite must read.
This book is not what I thought it would be. I expected a forensic novel about solving a murder. What I got was a weird, twisted book about grief and animal torture. I selected this book for our book group and was embarrassed to have done so! Not recommended.
Amateurish drivel! Author's voices for characters aren't very well distinguished, overly simplistic stereotypes, thin plot... Pop romance fiction yes. Literature-No. This is like really bad YA fiction.
This is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you read it. While it is not what I would call a book for "dog lover's", the main character definately loves and cares for his dog. However, the book's main focal point is not dogs, but rather languages and the things that are left unspoken. It is about the masks we sometimes wear to shield ourselves from the world and the ones we love. It is about mental illness, grief, loss, devotion, and love. It is a mystery if you let your mind wander there, although one could argue the truth was there all along. You are taken on an emotional journey with Paul, as he recalls his life with Lexy. The book is at times romantic, puzzling, and even has times of suspense. A great read.
This book is one of my favorite reads of the decade! Parkhurst captures grief, the desperation of a husband who loses his wife, so beautifully. It was a tough read. As one reviewer pointed out, there is graphic animal abuse/torture. However, it is an integral part of the story.
I was a bit disappointed with the plot, because I guess I was reading it thinking it was more so a mystery with a big "ah-ha" moment. The author is so descriptive it kept me interested in reading it all the way through though.
I liked this book but I did keep putting it down. It didn't truly hold my attention until I got half way through. I think the book was sad overall, and frustrating, I wanted to know the answer to his wives death as much as he did. That is why I gave it 4 stars. It did have some plot twists that were interesting and some that were disturbing. If you are sensitive about animals I do not recommend this book there is some animal abuse that has stayed with me unfortunetley.
This book is a very intense and heartfelt look at loss and the search for answers. Not a light read, but good from beginning to end. I can't believe how much I enjoyed this. The premise sounded so ludicrious and, to be honest, still does, but there is something so much more to this book than the silly-sounding plot. It is a story of love and loss, of understanding and confusion, of masks and bare truth. At times I laughed out loud and at least once I felt my eyes prick with the hint of tears. Excellent, indeed
I liked it as a book, but parts of the story were disturbing in regard to how dogs were treated. Just kept reminding myself that it was fiction. A bit far-out with some of the ideas. A quick read and hard to put down after the first page.
Such an interesting and entertaining read about a man trying to teach his dog to speak so that the dog can tell the man what happened on the day that the man's wife fell from a tree to her death. A mystery, a love story, an original.
This was a really unusual book. I had no idea where the author was going, and I really enjoyed the ride! The story has some gruesome turns, but all in all, it is an excellent portrait of a man dealing with grief.
The reader of this novel, Erik Singer, was just great. He moved the story along and gave the characters great voices, without seeming like he was even working at it. The story is very interesting in the spoken form because the descriptions of objects and expressions are so well written. I could even see the expressions of Lorelei, the Ridgeback dog, in my minds eye. Part love story, part mystery, part autobiographical novel. Great for commuting time.
This is a book that will stay with me a long time. There is sadness, humor, mystery and suspense. Most importantly it is a story of healing and acceptance. Carolyn Parkhurst skillfully moves Paul, the main character, along with the reader through the process of recovering from the sudden and shocking death of his wife. I was very moved by this book and recommend it highly.
My book club was split in two on this book. Some (like me) absoultely adored it. Others thought it bizarre. Interestingly, what divided the two groups was grief - those who have experienced a deep grief in their lives will understand The Dogs of Babel.
"Paul Iverson's Life Changes in an instant. He returns home one day to find that his wife, Lexy, has died under strange circumstances. The only witness was their dog, Lorelei, whose anguished barking brought help to the scene-but too late. In the days and weeks that follow, Paul begins to notice strange "clues" in their home: books rearranged on their shelves, a mysterious phone call, and other suggestions that nothing about Lexy's last afternoon was quite what it seemed. Reeling from grief, Paul is determined to decipher this evidence and unlock the mystery of her death. But he can't do it alone; he needs Lorelei's help." - worldcat.org
I never expected what happened. He's a linguist, he's going to teach the dog to talk...an interesting horror/mystery book, perhaps. No, it was not. It was a page-turning story of love, loss, anger, disappointment. And then acceptance. It did not go the way I imagined, and for that I am very appreciative of the author. A wonderful read.
I really loved this book. Although I was a little skeptical on the storyline, I was amazed how well it was handled. It is really a touching book for people who love animals as well as people who do not.
The Dogs of Babel, is original enough: after his wife Lexy dies after falling from a tree, linguistics professor Paul Iverson becomes obsessed with teaching their dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Lorelei (the sole witness to the tragedy), to speak so he can find out the truth about Lexy's death--was it accidental or did Lexy commit suicide?
This was an intriguing and touching mystery about a man whose wife has died with only one witness- their dog. He tries everything to teach the dog to talk and to determine what really happened to his wife. It sounds like an odd premise for a book, but the love story that was interwoven into the story was quite touching.
This was interesting story about a man whose wife dies and it is put down in the books as an accident. But he is not so sure. With the dog as the only witness to her death, he decides he is going to try to teach the dog to talk so that she can tell him how his wife really died. Woven into the story is also "their story". Good book.
I know this book got all kinds of great reviews but I just thought this book was strange. The whole concept was bizarre. The book is basically about some wacko who tries to give dogs the ability to speak. I can't say I enjoyed this one. Some things are better left unread.
Great book...strange, but fathomable for animal lovers. Great main character development (esp. Lexy's) and homage to the intelligence of the family pet. This was suspenseful and intriguing, a quick read...
I've had this book on my shelf for a while, and always found something I thought would be more interesting to read. The title just didn't draw me in. But as I got into this book, I realized that I was enjoying reading about the lives of the main characters. The husband is grieving and trying to figure out why his wife was found dead after falling from an apple tree in their back yard. The only observer? Their dog Lorelei. As is sometimes the case in extreme grief, he does some things that make little sense and which have his colleagues shaking their heads. But the book is surprisingly well written and insightful.
When his wife dies in a fall from a tree in their backyard, linguist Paul Iverson is wild with despair. In the days that follow, Paul becomes certain that Lexy's death was no accident. Strange clues have been left behind: unique, personal messages that only she could have left and that he is determined to decipher. So begins Paul's fantastic and even perilous search for the truth, as he abandons his everyday life to embark on a series of experiments designed to teach his dog Lorelei to communicate. Is this the project of a madman? Or does Lorelei really have something to tell him about the last afternoon of a woman he only thought he knew?....
The quirky premise of Carolyn Parkhurst's debut novel, The Dogs of Babel, is original enough: after his wife Lexy dies after falling from a tree, linguistics professor Paul Iverson becomes obsessed with teaching their dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Lorelei (the sole witness to the tragedy), to speak so he can find out the truth about Lexy's death--was it accidental or did Lexy commit suicide?
When his wife dies in a fall from a tree in their backyard, linguist Paul Iverson is wild with despair. In the days that follow, Paul becomes certain that Lexy's death was no accident. Strange clues have been left behind: unique, personal messages that only she could have left and that he is determined to decipher. So begins Paul's fantastic and even perilous search for the truth, as he abandons his everyday life to embark on a series of experiments designed to teach his dog Lorelei to communicate. Is this the project of a madman? Or does Lorelei really have something to tell him about the last afternoon of a woman he only thought he knew? At the same time, Paul obsessively recalls the early days of his love for Lexy and the ups and downs of life with the brilliant, sometimes unsettling woman who became his wife.
Paul Iverson's life changes in an instant. He returns home one day to find that his wife has died under strange circumstances. The only witness was their dog, whose anguished barking brought help to the scene - but too late. Paul starts an investigation that leads him in unexpected and even perilous directions. This is a story of marriage, love, relationships, survival and devotion.
PAUL IVERSIN'S LIFE CHANGES IN AN INSTANT. HE RETURNS HOME ONE DAY TO FIND THAT HIS WIFE, LEXY, HAS DIED UNDER STRANGE CIRCIMSTANCES. THE ONLY WITNESS WAS THEIR DOG, LORELEI, WHOSE ANGUISHED BARKING BROUGHT HELP TO THE SCENCE-BUT TOO LATE.