Garth Stein 2008
I laughed out loud, I almost cried, and I am not even a dog lover nor a car racing fan. From a totally different point of view, canine Enzo narrates his life and love for his family: Denny, Denny's wife Eve and daughter Zoe. Denny is a talented and undiscovered race car driver who faces his own race against ultimate despair and defeat after Eve is diagnosed and dies of brain cancer. He finds himself suddenly battling for custody of Zoe and wrongly accused of a life-changing crime. Enzo, a television addict, a race-car driver and a human at heart takes us to these stories, and educates us in the Art of Racing, with humor and greatly imaginative charm.
'Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature. And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do in order to communicate clearly and effectively.'(opening lines)
'I've always felt almost human. I've always known that there's something about me that's different than other dogs. Sure, I'm stuffed into a dog's body, but that's just the shell. It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human.'(3)
'This is what Denny says. He says racing is doing. It is being part of a moment and being aware of nothing else but that moment. Reflection must come at a later time. The great champion Julian SabellaRosa has said, "When I am racing, my mind and my body are working so quickly and so well together, I must be sure not to think, or else I will definitely make a mistake."'(14)
'I watch too much TV. When Denny goes away in the mornings, he turns it on for me, and it's become a habit. He warned me not to watch all day, but I do. Fortunately, he knows I love cars, so he lets me watch a lot of Speed Channel.'(17)
'My nose-- yes, my little black nose that is leathery and cute-- could smell the disease in Eve's brain long before even she knew it was there.
But I hadn't a facile tongue. So all I could do was watch and feel empty inside; Eve had assigned me to protect Zoe no matter what, but no one had been assigned to protect Eve. And there was nothing I could do to help her.'(37)
'These are things that only dogs and women understand because we tap into pain directly, we connect to pain directly from its source, and so it is at once brilliant and brutal and clear, like white-hot metal spraying out of a fire hose, we can appreciate the aesthetic while taking the worst of it straight in the face. Men, on the other hand, are all filters and deflectors and timed release.'(63)
'Your car goes where your eye go. Simply another way of saying that which manifest is before you.'(83)
'Here's why I will be good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another's conversations constantly.'(101)
'... how difficult it must be to be a person. To constantly subvert your desires. To worry about doing the right thing, rather than doing what is most expedient. At that moment, honestly, I had grave doubts as to my ability to interact on such a level. I wondered if I could ever become the human I hoped to be.'(122)
'The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles-- preferably of his own making-- in order to triumph. A hero without a flaw is of no interest to an audience or to the universe, which, after all, is based on conflict and opposition, the irresistible force meeting the unmovable object.'(135)
'He relaxed on the wheel at the apex and the car drifted toward the exit and he was full on the gas and we flew-- flew!-- out of that turn and toward the next and the next and the next after that. Fifteen turns at Thunderhill. Fifteen. And I love them all equally. I adore them all. Each one is different, each with its own particular sensation, but each so magnificent! Around the track we went, faster and faster, lap after lap.'(155)
'What could I do? Had I not made myself clear? Had I not communicated my message? What else was there for me to do?
One thing only. I lifted my hind leg and I urinated on the papers.'(267)
'But racing in the rain is also about the mind! It is about owning one's own body. about believing that one's car is merely an extension of one's own body. About believing that the track is an extension of the track, and the sky is an extension of the car, and the rain is an extension of the track, and the sky is an extension of the rain. It is about believing that you are not you. You are everything. and everything is you.'(314)
HarperCollins First edition
Book borrowed from the library