Over the weekend I finished The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst. It is her first novel. I picked it up at Barnes & Nobel in Bay Terrace, Bayside, Queens. No one had recommended it, I hadn't read a review -- it was the cover that attracted my attention: a woman sleeping with a dog sleeping right next to her.
Carolyn Parkhurst has an MFA in fiction from American University and lives in Washington DC with her husband and their son. Not much information about her on the cover or on the Internet. But that doesn't matter...her 264-page book is interesting and unusual.
When the book opens Lexy Ransome, wife of Paul, is already dead. She fell (jumped?) from an apple tree in her backyard. Paul is devastated but needs to know whether indeed she did jump or fall. The only witness to Lexy's "accident" is Lorelei, Lexy and Paul's 8-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. Since Paul is a linguist professor he comes to believe he can teach Lorelei to talk so she can tell him what really happened to Lexy. I told you the book is unusual. Despite the quirky idea that a dog can be taught to speak, I got caught up in the relationship between Paul and Lexy (told through flashbacks) and Paul and Lorelei after Lexy's death.
The reader can easily suspend disbelief and go along with Paul who is suffering with the loss of Lexy and his attempts to teach Lorelei the words and sounds of English. Here's a link so you can read a review: Review The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst.
I don't know whether I would choose this book for our Books & Brunch classes. Why don't you read the book and let me know what you think? I'd appreciate it.