Take Virginia Woolf’s Flush, for example. It’s more than a dog’s story. It’s a literary love story. And it’s a study of a complicated father-daughter relationship somewhat like Woolf’s own.
In it, Woolf also includes allusions to John Ruskin‘s descriptions of Italy, all told from the perspective of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel named Flush.
A couple of years ago, J.F. Englert, author of a series of charming mystery books ostensibly written by a Labrador retriever named Randolph, sent me two, A Dog About Town and A Dog Among Diplomats, in the hopes that I would blog about them. Hoping that I could find a connection between his books and Woolf’s Flush, I thought I would too.
But I haven’t until now. Somehow I needed a third canine narrator to flesh out my little post. I found the missing link when The Guardian wrote a review of a The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan.
Not only does O’Hagan’s book feature a doggie narrator. It also starts out at Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex. There, the narrator, while still a pup, discusses his life with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. And that little tidbit gave me the hook I needed to write this.
It stretches the imagination to visualize a dog moving from a life with Vanessa and Duncan to a life with Marilyn Monroe, but what the heck. Is that any more of a stretch than a dog who narrates novels?
Such books are a fun read. But for now I think I’ll stick to Randolph, who has a new book out. This one is called A Dog at Sea. Sounds like a perfect summer read.