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Sight Houndby Pam Houston
Synopses & Reviews
The long-awaited novel — a very special love story — from the best-selling author of Cowboys Are My Weakness.
This is the story of a woman, Rae, and her dog, Dante, a wolfhound who teaches "his human" that love is stronger than fear (the dog has always known this). Dante is the catalyst for change in other characters as well, and they step forward with their narratives: Rae's house-tender; her therapist; two veterinarians; and an anxiety-ridden actor, Howard, who turns out to be as stalwart as Dante himself. As the "seer" who hunts by sight rather than smell, Dante has some things to add, as does Rose, another dog who lives at Rae's heels, and Stanley the cat. Among and above these myriad voices, Rae voices her own challenges.
With the wit and dead-on candor we've come to expect from Pam Houston, Sight Hound unfolds a story that illuminates the intangible covenant between loved ones. Here, dogs and humans are simply equal creatures, looking to connect and holding on for dear life when they do.
"Postfeminist toughness and post-hippie sentiment are the alternating currents of this wry, tender novel by Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness; Waltzing the Cat; etc.) about a Colorado playwright and her beloved Irish wolfhound. Rae hasn't had much luck with men, but her love for her dog Dante is pure and uncomplicated. When he is diagnosed with cancer, she puts all of her energies into prolonging his life, volunteering him for experimental surgery. The ups and downs of the three years he spends in remission are narrated from the perspective of the motley friends who float in Rae's out-sized orbit. Chief among these is Howard, the adorably histrionic actor whose love is Rae's main consolation for the looming loss of Dante; there's also Darlene, Rae's tough-as-nails housekeeper, who keeps things running at the ranch while Rae's at her Denver apartment or traveling to exotic places. Then there's restless, jaded Jonathan, Rae's fellow playwright and best friend; Jodi, the young bride of a surrealist painter, who moves to Colorado and finds a soul mate in Rae; Dr. Evans, the driven vet who labors to save Dante; and Brooklyn Underhill, Dr. Evans's idealistic young ex-soldier assistant. And of course, Dante has his own say, as does Rae's rambunctious second dog, Rose, and Darlene's cat, Stanley. Houston isn't afraid to venture into boggy terrain — readers who squirm at the notion that dogs have human 'moms' and 'souls as deep and authentic as anything in creation' will resist being carried along at first — but the novel's humor and irony are bracing, and different voices provide welcome contrasts in tone. Houston's gift for capturing the dynamic of unorthodox webs of relationships is on pleasing display in this gruffly warmhearted novel. Agent, Liz Darhansoff. (Jan.) Forecast: Fans of Anne Lamott and Michael Cunningham's early work will appreciate Houston's similar way of dealing with love and friendship. Six-city author tour." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Part fable, part romance, part paean to the beauty of nature, Houston's arty and endearing Rockies screwball comedy includes one of the goofiest marriage proposals ever and many sweetly teary moments." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Houston is at least a wonderful novelist and maybe also a full-fledged witch capable of advanced spells....Houston's Western woman is as alluring, contradictory and maddening as Ellen Gilchrist's Southern-flavored heroine; her ease in the natural world is nearly as transporting as Jim Harrison's love affair with the outdoors." Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, The Oregonian
"[I]n a daring premise for her first novel, Houston delivers another postmodern love story in which equal voice is given to pets and people on contemporary issues." Lydia Reynolds, Denver Post
"Sight Hound, much like Rae herself, is flawed but in the end redeemed by its amplitude of heart." Jenny Shank, Rocky Mountain News
"Some people will love this novel. Well, some people watch Fear Factor and The Jerry Springer Show. A feel-good Reader's Digest anecdote spun out to booklength." Kirkus Reviews
"Sight Hound is so big-hearted, so unabashedly emotional, that it won me over by the second chapter....Houston's novel is so full of love you can't help but love it back." Leah Stewart, Raleigh News and Observer
"The entertaining Sight Hound... is a logical extension of Houston's tales of bold creatures — human and canine — that refuse to be wholly tamed. It's a poignant and joyous novel... Without excess sentimentality, Houston offers proof that fickle humans are capable of learning a lesson or two in devotion, even if the teacher has four legs and bad breath." Connie Ogle, Miami Herald
"Pam Houston has taken a giant step away from stories about single women who are bully brave but bound to lose at love, imagining instead a circle of good people where misunderstanding abounds but the persistence of love trumps all. Surprising, fun, wise, and stellar Houston." Sandra Scofield
"I was enthralled by the tenderness, wisdom, joy and hope in this book, and by its human as well as non-human creatures. Sight Hound is a marvel of the senses, interior as well as exterior." Rick Bass
"I read Pam Houston?s exhilarating and affecting novel Sight Hound, and I'm still seeing the world in its brilliant light. Houston?s considerable genius is to take the simple story of a woman?s love for and devotion to her dog, the magnificent Irish wolfhound Dante, and, in the end, offer us a new and genuine way to live our lives — with grace and gratitude. I?m reading Sight Hound again, because any good story (and this is one of the best) is never the same story twice." John Dufresne
"Pam Houston is a wonder, moving with grace and humor and insight from the inner voice and soul of human to canine to feline and back again. Sight Hound is not only a narrative tour de force but a brilliant examination of what it means — in the deepest sense —to be alive on this planet." Robert Olen Butler
The long-awaited novel; a very special love story; from the best-selling author of .
This is the story of a woman, Rae, and her dog, Dante, a wolfhound who teaches "his human" that love is stronger than fear (the dog has always known this). Dante is the catalyst for change in other characters as well, and they step forward with their narratives: Rae's house-tender; her therapist; two veterinarians; and an anxiety-ridden actor, Howard, who turns out to be as stalwart as Dante himself. As the "seer" who hunts by sight rather than smell, Dante has some things to add, as does Rose, another dog who lives at Rae's heels, and Stanley the cat. Among and above these myriad voices, Rae voices her own challenges. With the wit and dead-on candor we've come to expect from Pam Houston, unfolds a story that illuminates the intangible covenant between loved ones. Here, dogs and humans are simply equal creatures, looking to connect and holding on for dear life when they do. Reading group guide included.
About the Author
Pam Houston divides her time between Colorado (Creede and Denver) and the University of California at Davis, as director of the Creative Writing Program. Her books include Cowboys Are My Weakness, Waltzing the Cat (winner of the Willa Literary Award), and A Little More About Me.
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