The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein teaches us that the past is finished, focus on what lies ahead. Here’s what makes the story interesting: It is narrated by a dog.
Enzo is named for the race car driver Enzo Ferrari. He does not view himself as a pet. He lives in Seattle with his family, Denny, Eve, and Zoë. Denny, an auto mechanic and aspiring race car driver, is struggling to break into the Formula One racing circuit.
The author uses Enzo and Denny, Eastern philosophy, and high performance racing to explore the transcendent proposition, “That which you manifest is before you.”
From a National Geographic program, Enzo learns that upon death a Mongolian dog’s soul wanders the earth until it is ready to become a man. Enzo believes he will become a man in his next life. When tragedy disrupts his family, Enzo helps Denny get through painful life events. I’ll let you read the book to find out if Enzo makes it over to his next life.
This story reminds me of a house mate my brother Louie once had. King was a hefty black Labrador retriever. He was named for Richard Petty, the king of NASCAR racing. King listened to rock-in-roll music, watched The Andy Griffith Show, and swam in the family pool. Whereas Enzo watched Formula One racing tapes with Denny, King kicked-back with Louie for NASCAR on Sundays.
King had to carry his own weight when it came to chores. He cut the grass, stood guard while Louie was away and played host to house guests by serving beer. (The term “fetch” was never used.)
Perhaps King had a Mongolian soul. He knew he had a purpose in sharing his life with Louie. They understood each other and cared for each other. And when the time came for King’s soul to move on, somehow, I felt that we would see him again. Someday.
Henrico County Library is hosting a night with Garth Stein on April 4, 2012. See their website for details. http://www.henricolibrary.org/ahr/