Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Tale Of The Dog Paperback – Feb 1 1999


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 14.92 CDN$ 2.20

Best Books of 2014
Unruly Places, Alastair Bonnett’s tour of the world’s most unlikely micro-nations, moving villages, secret cities, and no man’s lands, is our #1 pick for 2014. See all


Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (Feb. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811213951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811213950
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 213 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,488,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In the first of the 31 terse, cerebral chapters of Swedish writer Gustafsson's 1993 roman noir, Texan federal judge Erwin Caldwell watches the 16mm footage from the film of his birth in order to confirm that he in fact exists. His philosophical and moral inquiry is prompted by the sudden, suspect death of his one-time spiritual adviser and revered professor of semantics, Jan van de Rouwers. The latter's demise reveals?traumatically for the Jewish Caldwell?his past as a Nazi collaborator in WWII Holland. Caldwell, whose psychic breakdown Gustofsson narrates in cool and tidy prose, begins to dig into his own past after he confesses to the district attorney that he's responsible for a brutal unsolved murder. Through journal entries and correspondence with a college friend, Caldwell traces the murderous impulse that caused him first to beat a stray dog to death, and eventually to kill another human being. Meanwhile, his wife of three decades is overweight and drinks too much, and Caldwell finds relief for his pent-up rage in an affair with the 30ish owner of a campus bookshop whose possibly mad husband has disappeared while on a search for God. The unease fostered by Gustofsson's disjointed style becomes more palpable as this provoking, if occasionally dry and disjointed, novel nears its bleak end. The pellucid, pliant translation is, however, somewhat marred by jarring Britishisms.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Lars Gustafsson has an uncompromising vision of the utter complexity of modern life ... He loves to play with possibilities and solutions in a manner that is refreshingly affirmative." -- Eric O. Johannesson, The New York Times Book Review

The Tale of a Dog is a compelling roman noir - an intellectual murder mystery cum philosophical discourse that looks back to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. ... Gustafsson taps a rich vein of comedy in the series of contrasts here engendered between the mundane and the high-flown as reported in the judge's fanciful narrative. -- Translation Review, July 1999

Gustafsson is to be admired for his refusal to go for any easy answers... -- The Complete Review

[A]n intellectual mystery and a philosophical discourse that looks back to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Great Metaphysical question about the reality of Good and Evil, proofs of the existence of God, human intelligence, and comedy are all intertwined with the resolution of a murder--or was it suicide? Highly recommended! -- The Bookwatch, April 1999

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My father, A builder in San Saba County, had several hobbies that he pursued with an enthusiasm bordering on fanaticism. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Aug. 8 2000
Format: Paperback
I can't speak to the quality of the English translation, having only read the original. Gustafsson demonstrates his usual idiosyncratic reflection of reality in the setting of the book--some details are dead on, others are vague, still others are changed in ways that probably wouldn't matter to a European audience but are weird to annoying to one familiar with the city and time period in question. Reading about one's home town in Swedish is an enjoyably bizarre experience--I can't say I was as taken with the actual underlying story, which involves a lot of philosophizing about good, evil, and the existence of God which just does not feel particularly relevant. Part of the problem, from my perspective, may be that the book really contains only one major character, the narrator, and he is clearly keeping things from us. With a couple of college philosophy courses and a jug of red wine, you could probably discuss this book all night, but on the whole I think "Bernard Foy's Third Castling" is a better example of Gustafsson's current period.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By A Customer on Oct. 29 1999
Format: Paperback
Lars Gustafsson is an author with the rare ability to distill insightful philosophical explorations from stories of everyday life. In Tale of a Dog, he weaves a riveting hodgepodge tapestry of good and evil as seen through the eyes of an Austin bankruptcy judge. The stories of Austin personalities ring true to those familiar with the quirkiness of the Austin scene, where everyone is a student of something. Gustafsson, typically, steps into the shoes of the outsider, the pretender. He is a Texan who doesn't like Tex-Mex; a Judge who cannot decide; a member of the social elite who prefers the company of his road-hard hairdresser. The fun is in Gustafsson's ability to show us the world from the outside and turn the small things large. The meat is in Gustafsson's ability to draw us to his characters' world of profound moral ambiguity. This is a very good book.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By A Customer on Sept. 4 1999
Format: Paperback
It is bad enough for a Swede to portray a culture (Texas) that he does not understand. However, to have this book translated into British, not American, makes the portrayal all the more bizarre. I've enjoyed Gustaffson before in German translation, and on safe, European, subjects. He jes duss'nt unnerstan' Texiz.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Gustafsson Succeeds Again Oct. 29 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lars Gustafsson is an author with the rare ability to distill insightful philosophical explorations from stories of everyday life. In Tale of a Dog, he weaves a riveting hodgepodge tapestry of good and evil as seen through the eyes of an Austin bankruptcy judge. The stories of Austin personalities ring true to those familiar with the quirkiness of the Austin scene, where everyone is a student of something. Gustafsson, typically, steps into the shoes of the outsider, the pretender. He is a Texan who doesn't like Tex-Mex; a Judge who cannot decide; a member of the social elite who prefers the company of his road-hard hairdresser. The fun is in Gustafsson's ability to show us the world from the outside and turn the small things large. The meat is in Gustafsson's ability to draw us to his characters' world of profound moral ambiguity. This is a very good book.
Near Miss Dec 30 2008
By JMack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the early chapters of this book, the plot and the direction of the book seemed to suggest that Gustafsson was on the cusp of a great novel. Then, something weird happened. Gustafsson forgot to tell the story and went on an existential tangent to seek the meaning of life. While the plot was not completely lost, it certainly lacked any sense of resolution.

Bankruptcy Judge Erwin Caldwell is shocked to learn of the mysterious death of a respected university professor. In seems the morals taught by the professor were hypocritical in view of his Nazi sympathies early in his life. Accompanied by the annoying genius Douglas Melvin Smith, a lonely bookstore owner, a nihilistic daughter, and a morally superior grandson, Caldwell searches for answers to questions he can not answer. Yet somehow, it all seems to keep coming back to the dog and the dustbin. The dog is the moral pin that seems to be holding Caldwell's entire universe together.

The English translation shows impecable word choice, though Gustafsson may not be responsible for this. Reading this book, I did feel that something must have been lost in the translation because the book feels incomplete.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An interesting experiment Aug. 8 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't speak to the quality of the English translation, having only read the original. Gustafsson demonstrates his usual idiosyncratic reflection of reality in the setting of the book--some details are dead on, others are vague, still others are changed in ways that probably wouldn't matter to a European audience but are weird to annoying to one familiar with the city and time period in question. Reading about one's home town in Swedish is an enjoyably bizarre experience--I can't say I was as taken with the actual underlying story, which involves a lot of philosophizing about good, evil, and the existence of God which just does not feel particularly relevant. Part of the problem, from my perspective, may be that the book really contains only one major character, the narrator, and he is clearly keeping things from us. With a couple of college philosophy courses and a jug of red wine, you could probably discuss this book all night, but on the whole I think "Bernard Foy's Third Castling" is a better example of Gustafsson's current period.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
rubbish, severely flawed Sept. 4 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is bad enough for a Swede to portray a culture (Texas) that he does not understand. However, to have this book translated into British, not American, makes the portrayal all the more bizarre. I've enjoyed Gustaffson before in German translation, and on safe, European, subjects. He jes duss'nt unnerstan' Texiz.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback