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The Lost Dog


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About the Author

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. She was educated in Melbourne and Paris. Michelle has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer. She is the author of two other novels, The Rose Grower and The Hamilton Case.


While staying in a remote cabin trying to finish his book on Henry James, divorced college professor Tom Loxley loses his dog and sets out to find him in the Australian outback. Accompanying him is Nellie Zhang, a highly regarded contemporary artist with a scandal in her past--and a woman with whom Tom would like to be more than just friends. Tom's search for the dog is mirrored by multiple needs: to understand his past as an immigrant from India, to grasp both Nellie's art and her personal history (information about which is doled out in fragments), to be sensitive to his mother's growing disabilities, and to anchor himself in the present. De Kretser, whose The Hamilton Case was a 2004 New York Times Notable Book, overlays her protagonist's perceptions with layers of imagery--from nature, Henry James's ghost stories, contemporary art, urban decay, and renewal--creating a nuanced portrait of a man in his time. The novel, like Tom, is multicultural, intelligent, challenging, and, ultimately, rewarding. Recommended for all literary fiction collections.--Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Michelle de Kretser showed us in The Hamilton Case what a gifted writer she is, offering a multilayered and mixed-voice narrative which was at once a rich family history and a cracking good murder mystery. The compelling portrait of past and present, home and exile, loss and love, post-coloniality, and what belonging might mean, that made that book so attractive are revisited in an entirely original way in The Lost Dog. This is a love story and a mystery as well, where the collision of an Indian heritage and the realities of life in contemporary Australia are the backdrop. Beautifully threading the narrative layers is the story of the ‘lost dog' itself. Lost at the beginning, reclaimed at the end, a city dog lost on a country excursion, the ‘speckled beast' links the histories of the central characters, plot and setting and essentially ‘grounds' a sophisticated exploration of the relationship between art and nature, and the weight of history, in primal reality. It's quite an achievement; with de Kretser's trademark densely textured language, rich visual imagery and depth of description making The Lost Dog a delight to savour as well as a tale to ponder.. David Gaunt is co-owner of Gleebooks in Sydney

De Kretser (The Hamilton Case) presents an intimate and subtle look at Tom Loxley, a well-intentioned but solipsistic Henry James scholar and childless divorce, as he searches for his missing dog in the Australian bush. While the overarching story follows Tom's search during a little over a week in November 2001, flashbacks reveal Tom's infatuation with Nelly Zhang, an artist tainted by scandal-from her controversial paintings to the disappearance and presumed murder of her husband, Felix, a bond trader who got into some shady dealings. As Tom puts the finishing touches on his book about James and "the uncanny" and searches for his dog, de Kretser fleshes out Tom's obsession with Nelly-from the connection he feels to her incendiary paintings (one exhibition was dubbed "Nelly's Nasties" in the press) to the sleuthing about her past that he's done under scholarly pretenses. Things progress rapidly, with a few unexpected turns thrown in as Tom and Nelly get together, the murky circumstances surrounding Felix's disappearance are (somewhat) cleared up and the matter of the missing dog is settled. De Kretser's unadorned, direct sentences illustrate her characters' flaws and desires, and she does an admirable job of illuminating how life and art overlap in the 21st century. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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