Now is the perfect time to lounge in a hammock, sip an iced tea and cuddle up with fictions about furry, four-legged canine companions. Lily and the Octopus (Simon & Schuster) by Steven Rowley--a funny, moving novel about an aging and infirm dachshund who changes one man's life--has become a literary sensation. Here are a few other dog-centric novels:
In Susan Wilson's A Man of His Own (St. Martin's Griffin), a World War II veteran, Rick Stanton, returns home, broken in body and spirit. When Rick and his wife are reunited with their beloved dog, Pax, a rescued German shepherd-mix who was later volunteered to serve in a K-9 military unit, a tug-of-war for the dog ensues between Rick and Pax's devoted handler from the front lines.
Two dogs--Dante, a super-smart Border collie, and Sissy, a sweet-natured spaniel--are unwillingly dumped on Jonathan Trefoil, a floundering, unfulfilled 20-something New Yorker in Jonathan Unleashed (Viking), a romantic comedy by Meg Rosoff. The dogs' attentiveness to Jonathan--and vice versa--create refreshing new beginnings for Jonathan's thorny, uncertain life.
Hector, a fluffy little white dog owned by a widow in a small town, and Trey Barkley, Hector's 26-year-old, professional dog walker who suffers from schizophrenia, are at the center of The Chocolate Debacle (Goodman Beck) by Karen Winters Schwartz. When Hector's owner is found murdered, Trey becomes the prime suspect in this psychologically astute murder mystery.
And in my own novel, The Thing Is (Red Adept), a crafty therapy dog, a lovable Yorkshire terrier named Prozac--with supernatural wisdom, a canine Mensa IQ and an even higher opinion of himself--sets off on an adventurous, comedic quest to rescue a blocked romance writer grieving the death of her fiancé.
So before summer winds down, let yourself "go to the dogs" ...literarily.