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Winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the Academy of Arts and Letters and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. In each of these "weird and wonderful stories" (Boston Globe), Brad Watson writes about people and dogs: dogs as companions, as accomplices, and as unwitting victims of human passions; and people responding to dogs as missing pa Winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the Academy of Arts and Letters and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. In each of these "weird and wonderful stories" (Boston Globe), Brad Watson writes about people and dogs: dogs as companions, as accomplices, and as unwitting victims of human passions; and people responding to dogs as missing parts of themselves. "Elegant and elegiac, beautifully pitched to the human ear, yet resoundingly felt in our animal hearts" (New York Newsday), Watson's vibrant prose captures the animal crannies of the human personality—yearning for freedom, mourning the loss of something wild, drawn to human connection but also to thoughtless abandon and savagery without judgment. Pinckney Benedict praises Watson's writing as "crisp as a morning in deer season, rife with spirited good humor and high intelligence," and Fred Chappell calls his stories "strong and true to the place they come from." This powerful debut collection marks Brad Watson's introduction into "a distinguished [Southern] literary heritage, from Faulkner to Larry Brown to Barry Hannah to Richard Ford" (The State, Columbia, South Carolina).


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Winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the Academy of Arts and Letters and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. In each of these "weird and wonderful stories" (Boston Globe), Brad Watson writes about people and dogs: dogs as companions, as accomplices, and as unwitting victims of human passions; and people responding to dogs as missing pa Winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the Academy of Arts and Letters and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. In each of these "weird and wonderful stories" (Boston Globe), Brad Watson writes about people and dogs: dogs as companions, as accomplices, and as unwitting victims of human passions; and people responding to dogs as missing parts of themselves. "Elegant and elegiac, beautifully pitched to the human ear, yet resoundingly felt in our animal hearts" (New York Newsday), Watson's vibrant prose captures the animal crannies of the human personality—yearning for freedom, mourning the loss of something wild, drawn to human connection but also to thoughtless abandon and savagery without judgment. Pinckney Benedict praises Watson's writing as "crisp as a morning in deer season, rife with spirited good humor and high intelligence," and Fred Chappell calls his stories "strong and true to the place they come from." This powerful debut collection marks Brad Watson's introduction into "a distinguished [Southern] literary heritage, from Faulkner to Larry Brown to Barry Hannah to Richard Ford" (The State, Columbia, South Carolina).

30 review for Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”She found him, a speeding, blurred ball of black and white led by a wild and wide-open eye, and watched as he zipped past and approached the far fence. And then, in violation of what had seemed a perfect order, he suddenly leaped. He leaped amazingly high, and with great velocity. He leaped, as if launched by a giant invisible spring in the grass, or shot from a circus cannon, and sailed over the fence into the gathering darkness.” I’ve seen my Scottish Terrier spot a rabbit in the yard and go l ”She found him, a speeding, blurred ball of black and white led by a wild and wide-open eye, and watched as he zipped past and approached the far fence. And then, in violation of what had seemed a perfect order, he suddenly leaped. He leaped amazingly high, and with great velocity. He leaped, as if launched by a giant invisible spring in the grass, or shot from a circus cannon, and sailed over the fence into the gathering darkness.” I’ve seen my Scottish Terrier spot a rabbit in the yard and go leaping off the back deck as if she has nitroglycerin infused paws. She flies through the air an impossible distance with her front legs forward like Wonder Dog and her back feet flared behind her like a rudder guiding her to the ground. Her level of success at catching rabbits is abysmal, but it doesn’t deter her from chasing them in a circle around the yard until they dive through a hole in the fence. She cuts, anticipating the rabbit’s next move, and occasionally, a rabbit plays with her too long. Brad Watson published this collection of stories in 1996 and went on to write just two novels and another collection of stories. He has been known as a lyrical writer, and certainly some of that lyricalness is on display in this collection. ”There is something fine about walking a fenceline through wet fields in a steady, misting rain when you’re all wrapped up against it. The world is reaching saturation, the air is uniformly cool and wet. It wraps around you like your heavy clothing and feels close and somehow invigorating. I don’t know. I guess it has the opposite effect on some people, but it strikes a chord in me. You slop through the muddy fields and get a little numb with it and something inside of you lets go a little bit. There’s nothing else like it. Walking in the cold and dry is fine, too, but it’s not the same thing. Walking in the rain loosens up the bad things inside.” This collection is based around dogs, and certainly dogs play a role in each story, but to me the stories are about longing. Watson was a man somewhat trapped as well as sustained by the world of academia. He was still teaching at the University of Wyoming when he passed away at the age of 64 on July 8th, 2020. He is the second writer whom I have been prompted to finally read because he died. I don’t want to make a habit out of this with writers, but I hope my failure to pay attention to him when he was alive will be somewhat nullified by trying to bring him to readers’ attention now. Because he was born in Meridian, Mississippi, he is labeled a Southern writer. I’m sure he was fine with that. One of the greatest American writers of all time, in my opinion, is William Faulkner, so to be categorized as a Southern writer is certainly something to live up to. I think of these stories as more rural, of people who could live anywhere. These are people who are still connected in some way with the outdoors. These are people who still want to use their hands. ”What gave him pleasure was a simple job, such as digging a hole. A worthwhile job, such as providing a grave for a homeless stray dog.” When I was working long hours, I hired people to mow my lawn, fix my plumbing, trim my trees, and paint whatever I needed painted. I grew up on a farm and know how to fix most things. On one of my first dates with my future wife, I had a fan belt break on my Camaro, and she watched in amazement as I pulled a frayed spare from my trunk and promptly replaced it in the muted lighting of a closed gas station. I didn’t realize until I quit the corporate life and had the time to fix things myself how much I missed doing that. After wrapping a piece of wire around the internal workings of a flush handle on the toilet the other day, I proudly said to the wife...look, I saved us $65 with a penny worth of wire. Fortunately, she finds such heroics...sexy. The characters in this series of stories are people who still understand the workings of the world, and all of them understand the companionship of dogs. There isn’t always a happy ending for the dogs and the people in these stories, but in every story there is a real sense of place. ”The doors all misfit their frames, and on gusty mornings I have awakened to the dry tick and skid of dead leaves rolling under the gap at the bottom of the front door and into the foyer, rolling through the rooms like little tumbleweeds, to collect in the kitchen, where then in ones and twos and little groups they skitter out the open door to the backyard and on out across the field. It is a pleasant way to wake up, really.” One might think those gaps under the doors need fixing, but then he’d miss waking up to the sounds of nature susurring through his house. Now that I’ve sat here, pondering the writing of Brad Watson, I do believe it is time to go cut that dead limb out of the mulberry tree and part it up into firewood for the fireplace. Winter is coming soon, and that wood will provide a few hours of heat. Rest in Peace Brad Watson. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten and an Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/jeffreykeeten/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This is a unique, fine little (slender, slim, thin) compilation of finely crafted literary fiction ever so loosely connected through the presence and role of canine companions. Immensely sad, periodically gorgeous, at times brutal, relentless, raw, and ... for all of its four-legged focus, altogether human and flawed and broken. I'm glad I read it. Obviously, some of the offerings were better than others (or at least they spoke more directly to me). For whatever reason, Seeing Eye resonated, and This is a unique, fine little (slender, slim, thin) compilation of finely crafted literary fiction ever so loosely connected through the presence and role of canine companions. Immensely sad, periodically gorgeous, at times brutal, relentless, raw, and ... for all of its four-legged focus, altogether human and flawed and broken. I'm glad I read it. Obviously, some of the offerings were better than others (or at least they spoke more directly to me). For whatever reason, Seeing Eye resonated, and it was one of the shortest, a mere nibble, maybe a bagatelle, almost a tone poem. I don't read/consume as much literary fiction that skews to creative writing as I used to. Sure, I always look at and incline to the Booker Prize winners and short list. The Pulitzer and National Book award winners, sure, more often than not... And maybe its getting older, maybe it was the dramatically expanded access to translated fiction we've witnessed in my lifetime. Maybe it was my rekindled interest in fantasy and sci-fi and cyberpunk and all things AI, I dunno.... But, for me, it was very much a change. Decades ago, the DC gem of a literary bookstore, Chapters, was not far from my office, and ... in a pre-kid, pre-Amazon, pre-Kindle, pre-Goodreads era ... it was easy to walk in at lunchtime, peruse, chat with the staff and customers, and read stuff that you simply wouldn't see or notice on the central tables at (later) Borders or, these days, Barnes & Noble. Sure, there's Politics & Prose downtown (still, a wonderful institution, and I should make an effort to visit more often, but it is what it is), but, it's not convenient for me, and ever since the Northern Virginia satellite of Kramerbooks closed abruptly in the 1990's, well, other than the library, I rely on my wonderful, neighborhood independent bookstore, One More Page books, which, while gratifyingly eclectic, rarely steers me in the direction of this kind of fare. And that's fine, because with wide reading interests, my book stack always seems to be growing, rather than shrinking... In any event, a nice artful diversion. I'm glad I found it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    GoldGato

    This is a collection of short stories with a theme of dogs. Very basic and very Southern American. I must admit I did approach this with a bit of apprehension, as I feared the worst for the doggies, but some of the stories were captivating and the writing was fluid. You never hear of dogs named Bill. My favourite story was called BILL. It's a simple tale of an elderly woman who lives with a "trembling poodle" advanced in years, as is Wilhelmina. She doesn't have much connection to anything or anyo This is a collection of short stories with a theme of dogs. Very basic and very Southern American. I must admit I did approach this with a bit of apprehension, as I feared the worst for the doggies, but some of the stories were captivating and the writing was fluid. You never hear of dogs named Bill. My favourite story was called BILL. It's a simple tale of an elderly woman who lives with a "trembling poodle" advanced in years, as is Wilhelmina. She doesn't have much connection to anything or anyone and doesn't expect much, either. She and Bill the dog share a wordless bond, her still-living husband no more than a vegetable in a nursing home. Howard had courted her in a horse-drawn wagon. An entire world of souls had disappeared in their time, and other nameless souls had filled their spaces. Some one of them had taken Howard's soul. The other story which hit me was AGNES OF BOB. Agnes is a widow living with Bob, her departed husband's dog. Humor abounds, but so does a trace of wistfulness and the knowledge that time has its own schedule to keep for all of us. All in all, a good collection of short fiction with two standouts. ...light bends to greater forces, and so does fate... Bless them canines. Book Season = Summer (the South)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Hagy

    I did a short review of this book when it was first published. I didn't know Brad. But I thought I knew taut, serious stories when I read them, and I said so. I figured Watson would go on to tell more wise, emotionally probing fiction. And he sure did. His voice was--and is--undeniable. I've just read DOG-MEN for the third time, driven back to it by grief...gratitude and grief. Many of these stories are funny and dignified. The title story and "Agnes of Bob" still make me laugh out loud. But the I did a short review of this book when it was first published. I didn't know Brad. But I thought I knew taut, serious stories when I read them, and I said so. I figured Watson would go on to tell more wise, emotionally probing fiction. And he sure did. His voice was--and is--undeniable. I've just read DOG-MEN for the third time, driven back to it by grief...gratitude and grief. Many of these stories are funny and dignified. The title story and "Agnes of Bob" still make me laugh out loud. But the fierce regret at things gone wrong also fuels moments of transcendence in this fine book. Brad Watson, like many gifted artists, rubbed regret down to its nubbins. Stories like "The Wake" and "Kindred Spirits" are all the more powerful for their deep, deep sadnesses and truths.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristopher Kelly

    Eight great short stories about people, dogs, life, light, and darkness. Watson can write the hell out of a sentence while telling some of the most surprising stories you're likely to find. These are rough Southern pieces, steeped in an unflinching but fair view of humanity, recommended for serious readers who aren't looking for sentimental Disney-ish stories about people and the pets they love. A few of these qualify in my opinion as flat-out horror stories. So ... be warned. Marley and Me this Eight great short stories about people, dogs, life, light, and darkness. Watson can write the hell out of a sentence while telling some of the most surprising stories you're likely to find. These are rough Southern pieces, steeped in an unflinching but fair view of humanity, recommended for serious readers who aren't looking for sentimental Disney-ish stories about people and the pets they love. A few of these qualify in my opinion as flat-out horror stories. So ... be warned. Marley and Me this is not. Standouts in the collection for me are the title story, "Agnes of Bob," and "Kindred Spirits," but really they're all terrific. I'm always inspired by Watson's prose and gift for the unexpected. Highly recommended for adventurous readers who don't mind some harsh realism.

  6. 4 out of 5

    C

    Not a bad collection, but I have 2 reasons it just didn't "hit" for me. 1.) I'm just not a fan of southern literature. Never have been. I just really don't get it at all. My failure - not the author's. 2.) Some of the stories felt a bit forced - at least the dog connection. Others were quite good. It is a pretty bleak collection if that influences your desire to read it at all one way or another. Not a bad collection, but I have 2 reasons it just didn't "hit" for me. 1.) I'm just not a fan of southern literature. Never have been. I just really don't get it at all. My failure - not the author's. 2.) Some of the stories felt a bit forced - at least the dog connection. Others were quite good. It is a pretty bleak collection if that influences your desire to read it at all one way or another.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clifford

    They're all good, but "Kindred Spirits" is a killer story. They're all good, but "Kindred Spirits" is a killer story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I bought this book 25 years ago when it came out but somehow lost it and read just now. I liked it but found it a bit forced. He writes really well and tells a good story. As one of the reviewers wrote on the back cover, he tells stories you've never heard, which is not always a good thing. Dogs are in each of the 8 stories, sometimes central to the tale, sometimes not. What becomes clear in each is that man's best friend has learned quite a bit from us, maybe too much, and in Watson's stories t I bought this book 25 years ago when it came out but somehow lost it and read just now. I liked it but found it a bit forced. He writes really well and tells a good story. As one of the reviewers wrote on the back cover, he tells stories you've never heard, which is not always a good thing. Dogs are in each of the 8 stories, sometimes central to the tale, sometimes not. What becomes clear in each is that man's best friend has learned quite a bit from us, maybe too much, and in Watson's stories the dog is man's dark shadow, a mirror of his psychosis. There is humor here, but it doesn't linger. Overall a bit too dark for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carly Johnson

    Excellent prose, beautifully crafted sentences- "Bill" and "Agnes of Bob" were triumphs. I can't handle dogs being killed at the hands of humans, which speaks more to my own squimishness than the quality of the book. I know, I know, it's metaphor-- but it's incredibly difficult to read if you picked it up because you love dogs and regularly wrap your own dog up in a blanket to cuddle them and tell them they're the light of your life. Expect a beautifully written, but regularly torturous account Excellent prose, beautifully crafted sentences- "Bill" and "Agnes of Bob" were triumphs. I can't handle dogs being killed at the hands of humans, which speaks more to my own squimishness than the quality of the book. I know, I know, it's metaphor-- but it's incredibly difficult to read if you picked it up because you love dogs and regularly wrap your own dog up in a blanket to cuddle them and tell them they're the light of your life. Expect a beautifully written, but regularly torturous account of how humans don't deserve the souls of dogs, and you'll be ready for it. I wasn't just yet.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peter Carlson

    Watson, who tragically died too soon this month (July, 2020), belongs to the southern literary tradition of Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. I enjoyed the wry humor balanced with longing and remorse in "Agnes of Bob"; Watson's more eccentric characters are hilarious but never slide into caricature. "A Blessing" and "Kindred Spirits" both crackled with sudden, claustrophobic menace and bursts of violence that left me shaken and reflective. Watson, who tragically died too soon this month (July, 2020), belongs to the southern literary tradition of Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. I enjoyed the wry humor balanced with longing and remorse in "Agnes of Bob"; Watson's more eccentric characters are hilarious but never slide into caricature. "A Blessing" and "Kindred Spirits" both crackled with sudden, claustrophobic menace and bursts of violence that left me shaken and reflective.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    Good writing but the stories careen into contemptible characters and southern stereotypes. I am surprised there weren't any stories involving crawdads, catfish or cross-burning. But yes, there are dogs in the stories. Good writing but the stories careen into contemptible characters and southern stereotypes. I am surprised there weren't any stories involving crawdads, catfish or cross-burning. But yes, there are dogs in the stories.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I can't believe somebody didn't make an Ed Harris movie out of Kindred Spirits. This is a great collection. My partner is reading it right now and keeps laughing out loud in ways I didn't, which is surprising, but also a really, really good sign. I can't believe somebody didn't make an Ed Harris movie out of Kindred Spirits. This is a great collection. My partner is reading it right now and keeps laughing out loud in ways I didn't, which is surprising, but also a really, really good sign.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    These eight stories may not be for true dog lovers because in some stories, dogs are peripheral and, in others, come to some harm. Other than that, I have no bones to pick.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melana

    Wow!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott Isenberg

    Wonderfully-realized book about the relations of people, dogs, and being human.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    They are well written but not my favorite stories.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen Brown

    I could appreciate the writer’s skill but these stories just weren’t for me. Glad that I gave it a try.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Woah! Eight stories set in the south about folk and their dogs. Pretty chilling.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    Powerfully, beautifully written. Weird and unsettling.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

    The first story was exquisite, the remainder was a mixed bag, but 4 of the 8 had breathtaking portions. The remaking 4 were still good. So sorry to not see future offerings from this author.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stan Lanier

    Wonderful writing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    I am going to read everything Watson wrote. I had never heard of him until he died recently. These stories are snapshots of lives, and they all involve dogs. The people in the stories are not all damaged, but they are not far from it. Or they are trying to avoid damage. Or they are so damaged they make little sense. Watson’s writing is spare and neat, very sure and strong.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Timothy McNeil

    I am not sure what readers who enjoyed Watson's stories in this collection see that I didn't. Aside from the general set-up (which doesn't ever amount to plot or character sketches or anything resembling an artistic statement or plain, simple point) in the titular "Last Days of the Dog-Men" and the more formulated (though still problematic) "A Retreat", there is nothing in this book worth reading. At least not as complete stories. There are brief moments of good writing, but not enough to even h I am not sure what readers who enjoyed Watson's stories in this collection see that I didn't. Aside from the general set-up (which doesn't ever amount to plot or character sketches or anything resembling an artistic statement or plain, simple point) in the titular "Last Days of the Dog-Men" and the more formulated (though still problematic) "A Retreat", there is nothing in this book worth reading. At least not as complete stories. There are brief moments of good writing, but not enough to even hang so much as an entire scene on. The only reason I went so far as to give this two stars was because of "A Retreat". It has moments that feel absolutely honest (if not real to the author, then definitely real in the world of the narrative character) which show that Watson has talent and skill. Unfortunately, he pre-confounds this with a mannered, effected device that robs the piece of the weight of emotional truth. In fact, almost all of the stories have some feel of a writing exercise, where Watson made an attempt to import or co-opt the style of American 20th Century literary giants. Mixed in was a haphazard style that feels like it was itself co-opted from a copy editor or beat reporter, which only left me wondering if Watson was trying to hide his inability to coney a point (be it direct or subtle) with everything at his disposal. I would not recommend this book to anyone. I may keep an eye out for other Watson books, but I cannot imagine being eager to read any after this experience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Johannes Boland

    I was there and I felt most of the pain within the stories. We are emotionally tied to dogs in our own personal ways, every connection is its own story and these are evidence of that.

  25. 5 out of 5

    El

    This was a hard book for me to rate. These are short stories, primarily about people but also, importantly most times, their relationships to their pet dogs. I can get down with that, being such a slut for dogs myself. But the fates of these animals were not always the best, and I found myself upset a lot of the time and probably missing the whole point of the animal as a metaphor for life or humanity or whatever. Agnes of Bob may be one of the best short stories I've read in quite some time, bu This was a hard book for me to rate. These are short stories, primarily about people but also, importantly most times, their relationships to their pet dogs. I can get down with that, being such a slut for dogs myself. But the fates of these animals were not always the best, and I found myself upset a lot of the time and probably missing the whole point of the animal as a metaphor for life or humanity or whatever. Agnes of Bob may be one of the best short stories I've read in quite some time, but the rest I could take or leave. Certain sentences made me cringe ("After we'd caught our breath, she pushed me off of her like a sack of feed corn."). I felt the whole dog-human-connection thing was too forced. Maybe I just don't like themed short story collections. In any case, these were quick reads, and okay for a nice, drizzly Sunday afternoon. Can't see myself actually recommending this collection to anyone though, unless I am specifically asked for short stories involving dogs.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Bazzett

    I just read this book a second time. First read it a dozen or more years ago when it was new. As a dog-man myself, I love this slim collection of stories abvout the various ways dogs interact with people and fit into their lives. These aren't all "warm 'n' fuzzy" kinds of stories. A couple of them - "The Wake" and "A Blessing" - are in fact quite the opposite, the latter story story showing a brutal side of men that is quite shocking. And "Bill" may break your heart. My favorite of the eight sel I just read this book a second time. First read it a dozen or more years ago when it was new. As a dog-man myself, I love this slim collection of stories abvout the various ways dogs interact with people and fit into their lives. These aren't all "warm 'n' fuzzy" kinds of stories. A couple of them - "The Wake" and "A Blessing" - are in fact quite the opposite, the latter story story showing a brutal side of men that is quite shocking. And "Bill" may break your heart. My favorite of the eight selections is the title story. Watson knows his dogs, no question, but he knows people even better; and, best of all, he is one damn fine writer. Now, having 're-discovered' Watson after 10-12 years, I'll have to find out what he's been up to lately.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Hivner

    This is a collection of 8 short stories, each one with a dog involved, its behaviors and relationship with the people driving the story. There is no doubt that Brad Watson is a talented writer. His characters jump off the page presenting themselves to you forcefully. Some of his metaphors and similes left me shaking my head mumbling, 'how did he come up with that?' Having said that, I didn't enjoy Last Days entirely. This is a sad, ugly book. I had no problem with the melancholy characters and th This is a collection of 8 short stories, each one with a dog involved, its behaviors and relationship with the people driving the story. There is no doubt that Brad Watson is a talented writer. His characters jump off the page presenting themselves to you forcefully. Some of his metaphors and similes left me shaking my head mumbling, 'how did he come up with that?' Having said that, I didn't enjoy Last Days entirely. This is a sad, ugly book. I had no problem with the melancholy characters and the beautiful way Watson presented their lives. But some of these stories are inhabited by ugly people doing cruel things, both to other people and to the dogs in their lives. If you are a dog lover as I am, be forewarned that dogs die in this book at the hands of selfish, arrogant characters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Good. I guess at their worst these stories resemble little exercises—not to say they're not fully fleshed out, but they do seem to put style a bit ahead of content. And not even that they're super stylistic, but they do have that post-Carver feel to them. The dog thing is slightly odd as well. Dogs are woven into the stories integrally—I don't see Watson tossing a hound in here or there to make a story fit into the collection. And somehow a 150-page-long book of stories all involving dogs works. Good. I guess at their worst these stories resemble little exercises—not to say they're not fully fleshed out, but they do seem to put style a bit ahead of content. And not even that they're super stylistic, but they do have that post-Carver feel to them. The dog thing is slightly odd as well. Dogs are woven into the stories integrally—I don't see Watson tossing a hound in here or there to make a story fit into the collection. And somehow a 150-page-long book of stories all involving dogs works. I guess it's not really that odd at all. Just the idea of a bunch of stories about dogs. The worst of the exercise feel comes early on, in a story about a blind person and a seeing-eye dog waiting for the light to change. That's all. So, yeah, not a bad collection. I didn't love it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    In this collection of stories Watson delves unerringly into the mind of both (Southern) man and canine and the result shows how people project their own emotions onto pets and how their behavior can mimic each other, from yearning for human connection to thoughtless and sometimes savage behavior while seeking freedom. He gives good argument for why dog is man's best friend. "Seeing Eye" trembled with emotion of a dog recalling his former farm life prior to serving as guide to a blind man, while In this collection of stories Watson delves unerringly into the mind of both (Southern) man and canine and the result shows how people project their own emotions onto pets and how their behavior can mimic each other, from yearning for human connection to thoughtless and sometimes savage behavior while seeking freedom. He gives good argument for why dog is man's best friend. "Seeing Eye" trembled with emotion of a dog recalling his former farm life prior to serving as guide to a blind man, while Wilhemina finds it easier - or harder - to confront her poodle's ailing ("she was terrified of being alone") than her deteriorating husband with a wandering mind in a home in "Bill." friend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    I read this book while staying with a friend, picked it up off his shelf and gave it a read. Suddenly I have many more dogs in my life, so I am trying to understand them better. I thought this might help. It didn't. All of these stories are really depressing. Every story has a dog in it, although the stories are way more about the men than the dogs. And some of the dog-men are women. My favorite stories: Agnes of Bob and Bill. The Wake and Kindred Spirits were just plain weird. I read this book while staying with a friend, picked it up off his shelf and gave it a read. Suddenly I have many more dogs in my life, so I am trying to understand them better. I thought this might help. It didn't. All of these stories are really depressing. Every story has a dog in it, although the stories are way more about the men than the dogs. And some of the dog-men are women. My favorite stories: Agnes of Bob and Bill. The Wake and Kindred Spirits were just plain weird.

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