Sometimes a book just reaches out and grabs readers. They enjoy it, share it with family and friends and recommend it to book clubs. One of those books is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Some of its elements, like dogs, race cars and family issues, are on many readers' NO lists, but fans will tell you that the combination is quite winning.
Unusual from the get-go, this is a novel that is told from the point of view of a dog, the very wonderful older retriever Enzo who lives with his human companion Denny, a race car driver. Nearing the end of his life and trying to learn as much as he can now, Enzo believes he will be reincarnated as a human in his next life. This is a sad/happy family story has tugged on the heartstrings of readers.
To give you some idea of Garth Stein’s popularity--in a two month long recent book tour he made 45 stops to speak at libraries, literary festivals and book stores. Stein’s very unique background informs his fiction. Born in Los Angeles, he grew up in the Seattle area where he still lives. Before writing novels he worked on a cruise ship, wrote plays presented at community theaters, taught writing, made documentary films and produced an Academy Award winning short film. No surprise, he is also an amateur car racer.
Also set in the Pacific Northwest is Stein’s much-awaited new novel A Sudden Light. This story of a broken family whose son wants to set right, includes family secrets, an historic estate that might be sold, and ghosts. Reviewers have said the book is captivating.