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Cold Dog Soup [Paperback]

Stephen Dobyns
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Michael Latchmer, instructed to bury the corpse of a date's pet dog, finds himself on a Dantesque adventure with a Haitian cab driver who claims that he can get money for the dog's body. "This is a ludicrous, occasionally amusing romp," said PW , although "the polished writing of novelist and poet Dobyns deserves a stronger plot than this."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN LIVE THIS BOOK Feb. 17 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
A completly unique book. as I read this book it became almost unbearable because you just want it to end so you will find out what happens. The story is great and the humor keeps you going, but it is not until you finish the book and tell friends IN DETAIL the story that you realize the genius of the book.
You become the main character and your friends become the people in the book. I never have experienced this before. you can tell the DETAILED story over and over to whoever you want and watch what happens. TRULY AMAZING
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book July 10 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Wildly funny, very original, beautifully written, perverse and touching. Written by a gifted poet and literary writer who also knows how to give a reader a good time -- and give the reader something to think about. One of my favorite books of all time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Have to agree wiuth Stern... May 1 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
One of the funniest books I've ever read. I keep checking the shelves at Amazon to see if it's back in print. I lent my copy to someone and never got it back.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN LIVE THIS BOOK Feb. 17 2004
By JOHN FRASSICA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
A completly unique book. as I read this book it became almost unbearable because you just want it to end so you will find out what happens. The story is great and the humor keeps you going, but it is not until you finish the book and tell friends IN DETAIL the story that you realize the genius of the book.
You become the main character and your friends become the people in the book. I never have experienced this before. you can tell the DETAILED story over and over to whoever you want and watch what happens. TRULY AMAZING
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny, Very Strange! April 26 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
I have a twisted sense of humor, but I found this book hilarious! I listened to the tape in the car, and periodically had to glance around to be sure that no one saw me laughing out loud, while driving alone!
3.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom from a dead dog April 5 2007
By CaseyMalden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
The Book-on-Tape version is read by Jonathan Marosz. Mr. Marosz has a voice to cheapen any book, but Cold Dog Soup is still a winner. It's written in real time and follows the progress of a young man named Latchmer as he struggles through a night in New York City in the company of a dead dog, a crazed cab driver and his unpleasant childhood memories. It's laugh out loud funny and not for the easily offended
4.0 out of 5 stars An auspicious introduction to Dobyns March 18 2013
By Post-Celestial Avion - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This was the first Stephen Dobyns book I read, and I have since read many others. What struck me most about Cold Dog Soup was that is seemed simultaneously to have the zaniness of a goofy children's book, coupled with a dark, very adult, macabre misadventure. If Maurice Sendak read this, and I were a betting man, I would place a huge wager that he loved this book. Most people in the book behave badly or at least oddly at least some of the time, with, to me, very humorous results. It is not at all PC or sensitive to minorities, and actually, rather offensive, as observed by some other reviewers, but it is still a very good novel. I flashed on Curb Your Enthusiasm just now. If Curb Your Enthusiasm is Seinfeld on an overdose of steroids, Cold Dog Soup is Curb Your Enthusiasm as seen through Edgar Allen Poe and Kafka's perspectives. A movie that Cold Dog Soup reminds me of is After Hours, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Griffin Dunne. I was glad to have found this book, since it led to the reading of most of Dobyns' novels since then, which has for the most part been a pleasure. Too bad it's out of print.
3.0 out of 5 stars I Lapped It Up. May 28 2009
By FateJacketX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Cold Dog Soup has you scratching your head and asking a lot of questions about Latchmer the protagonist fifty pages in. You wonder why he's doing all these ludicrous things until Miss Mitchell explains it all near the end: He's stupid.

It starts off with him meeting a girl at the gym and arranging a dinner date with her mother at their New York City apartment. That's when things get really weird as his date turns out to be something of a pervert and her mother displays an irrational attachment to Jasper, her aged red dog who takes on an annoying fixation with Latchmer's crotch. When Jasper dies that night of a heart attack, the dismayed women somehow talk Latchmer into driving out to New Jersey to bury it. That's when things get weirder and weirder when Latchmer and his new Hatian cabbie friend Jean Claude opt to spend the night trying to sell the dead dog to various shady characters instead.

The book is rich and ripe with symbolism, which I normally love to pick at and figure out. Jean Claude alone peppers the pages with fascinatingly spiritual worldviews, sometimes hilariously so. Some of the methodical sub-plot pieces range from paranoid dragon motifs to the cryptic uses of cold, hard hands. Others are more easily explained like Latchmer's penchant for denying self-guilt. But throughout this freaky piece, there are two very strong underlying meanings that hit home every time.

1. The idea that your actions always have an affect on someone somewhere trashes the concept of live and let live. When Latchmer sees that his roommate enjoys a particular sexual fetish, he figures "Whatever...he's not hurting anyone." But author Bolyns would beg to differ. "Whatever" explains away nothing as your choices are causes that will have effects.

2. An even stronger point that manages to resurface time and again is how one can live an entire life being adored by special people, only to be rejected, tossed away, even terribly humiliated in death. When that one came to me, I felt a great deal of pity for the offended characters.

There is one thing about the book that reflects harshly on the author's character though. He sometimes displays a woeful ignorance that borders the line of racism. Far too often is he preoccupied with the blackness of the skin of African American characters, almost as if black people haven't been around for 500 years.

On page 47, he tells us that Latchmer misunderstood Jean Claude's name and thought it was something african like "Sambo." Why he would choose to use that name has racist foundations that are completely ridiculous. Wikipedia states: "Sambo is a racial term for a person with mixed Amerindian and African heritage in the Caribbean, also for a black person in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is considered a racial slur."

It is also really strange to read the term "Chinaman" being sprinkled haphazardly into the text like it's not offensive. Granted, at the time of publication, it may have been normal to call little people "midgets" before it was deemed politically incorrect (which he also has no probile using.) I still hear the uninformed call black people "colored," so it doesn't surprise me. But I'm not sure "chinaman" was ever appreciated by the Chinese.

On page 56, the author states that the doctors made noises like "wild indians," insinuating that, as the English definition of "wild" means "savage," that Native Americans are a subhuman, even animalistic race. None of this is even dialog - it's text. I'm really thinking the author is wholly stupid to the sensitivities of the world as a whole. It really did surprise me how such a fool could write so well.

I really really liked this book and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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