Red Dog, Red Dog has intrigued me for a while. A few people were convinced it would make the 2009 Booker long list and so I almost picked it up last year. For some reason it never quite made it to the top of the TBR pile then, but almost a year on I finally got round to reading it.
Red Dog, Red Dog is set in a small town in British Columbia, Canada. The book centres on one troubled family: a violent husband, a depressed mother and her two troubled sons. Much of the book is narrated by their dead baby sister, which sounds a bit weird but it actually worked very well. The book follows their lives over the course of one week in 1958. The short time scale meant that there wasn’t room for a complex plot, but their relationships and emotions were well explored.
My enjoyment of this book fluctuated massively as I read it. Some scenes captivated me, drawing me into the troubled world and creating a strong emotional bond between me and the boys; but then I’d read several chapters in a row without becoming involved at all. The writing became very passive and I began to lose interest. I think this was a deliberate plot devise as the writing kept switching between total engagement and boredom, but I found it very frustrating.
The tone of the book was quite dark:
The whole book was quite emotionally draining so I recommend that you are in the right frame of mind before attempting it.
Overall, I’m going to sit on the fence on this one. It had moments of brilliance alongside some very dull sections. I think you’ll have to make up your own mind!
Have you read Red Dog, Red Dog?