- The eponymous dog is lost early on, and perhaps I would run away from Tom too given the chance? The writing reminded me of Edward St. Aubyn and John Banville in that I liked the writing but not necessarily the characters
- Tom being an art loving writer allowed for some striking prose as we see his world through his eye. [‘The air over the paddocks was a substance between liquid and paper. It held, on the horizon, the trace of a mountain: a watercolour blotted while wet into almost blankness.’] Although as the novel drew on I found the writing overly rich and at times cloying.
- We visit
again, this time from a distance, framed through childhood memory. We also briefly witness the event of 9/11 - interesting how many contemporary novels now mention that day. India
- Nelly hoards strange items in her gallery and sometimes this book reminded me of her collections. A beguiling jumble that delights but keeps its overall purpose vague.
- The art scene scenes irritated me. Perhaps artists are interesting on their own but put them together and they easily annoy. (Art based book I liked = Port Mungo (Patrick McGrath), art based book I didn’t = Life Class (Pat Barker)) But I liked the man and dog stuff, and the man and mother stuff, and would have preferred to focus more on these.
- Tom is defined largely through his relations with others, his mother, Nelly, his friends, acquaintances, colleagues but perhaps most importantly by his friendship with the dog - ‘Love without limits was reserved for his own species. To display great affection for an animal invariably provoked censure. Tom felt ashamed to admit to it. It was judged excessive: overflowing a limit that was couched as a philosophical distinction, as the line that divided the rational, human creature from all others. Animals, deemed incapable of reason, did not deserve the same degree of love.’ 7 out of 10 orange knots