The Lost Dog
As a man searches for his missing dog in the Australian bush, it becomes clear that he, too, is lost, in Michelle de Kretser’s rich and subtle tale.
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The Lost Dog
Tom Loxley is holed up in a cottage in the bush, trying to finish his book on Henry James, when his dog goes missing. As Tom searches, it becomes apparent that he needs to unravel other puzzles in his life. The story shifts between past and present, taking in his parents’ mixed-race marriage in India, their arrival in Australia in the 1970s, Tom’s own failed marriage, and his current involvement with Nelly, an artist with her own secrets and mysteries.
One of the most striking things about The Lost Dog is de Kretser’s meticulous use of language, which can find the telling word with apparent ease (Nelly’s laugh is “disgraceful”; the drunk referred to earlier has an “unfastened” face), or overdo things somewhat and seem to strain for effect (“he was driven also to remark the ambiguities eddying her surface”). The book is bursting with de Kretser’s talent and ambition, and there is no doubt that this is one of the most interesting and rewarding titles on the Booker longlist. More than that, it will surely repay a second reading, which is no small feat in a list where many of the titles don’t repay a first.
About the Author
Given that Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka, moved to Australia as a teenager and finished her education in Paris, it is no surprise that she was an editor for the Lonely Planet guides.