Friday, June 22, 2007

About a Dog

I imagine I'll write more about William Maxwell before too long, because he has other books and I'm likely to be reading them soon. But before I move away from So Long, See You Tomorrow (which I finished; you should read it, if you haven't), one more thing. Toward the end, the novel includes a few remarkable passages told from the perspective of a family's dog. I know that sounds potentially horrible, but I'm not even a big pet person and I found it incredibly moving. This passage below, earlier in the book, doesn't get inside the dog's mind quite as much as those later moments, but I thought the last sentence here was a beautiful way of expressing the cliché of dog loyalty:
The dog follows Cletus up onto the porch, leaving her neat footprints wherever she has been. With her head cocked she watches while he puts his schoolbooks beside the door and bends down to untie his shoelaces. His head is now on a level with hers. The plumed tail wags seductively. He leans forward so that she can smell his breath and, smelling hers, wrinkles his nose with distaste.

"Whew! What have you been eating? Dead fish?" Dead something.

There is no telling how long she would let him go on looking into her agate-colored eyes. Forever, possibly. She has made him a present of herself and nothing he does or doesn't do will make her take it back.


Blogger Mrs. White said...

This one's been on my list of things to get to soon, but based on that last line you quoted, I'm strongly thinking of moving it a bit further up on the list. Just so you know. :)

7:18 PM  

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