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Tale Of The Dog Paperback – Feb 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (Feb. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811213951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811213950
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 213 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,224,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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