Summary and book reviews of Dogwalker by Arthur Bradford

Dogwalker

By Arthur Bradford

Dogwalker
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2001,
    160 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2002,
    144 pages.

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Book Summary

The debut collection of an O. Henry Award- winning short-story writer, Dogwalker assembles its cast from society's misfits: the disabled and the blind, the hapless and the troubled, and all species of mutants--including a giant slug that almost breaks up a marriage, a preponderance of three-legged dogs, and a family of circus freaks who look remarkably like cats. Here, too, are hexes, voodoo, refrigerated dead puppies, and an unforgettable game involving a chainsaw. The stories in Dogwalker are narrated with surreal tranquility, with a pronounced lack of amazement at life's vicissitudes and an affable acceptance of its strangest circumstances.

With a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and a sensibility as unique as his subjects, Arthur Bradford peels back a surface layer of depravity and violence to reveal a world of surprising gentleness, compassion, and innocence. In these twelve strikingly provocative and hilarious stories, he emerges as an utterly original new voice in contemporary fiction.

Catface

Part 1
Room For Rent

The disability payments were being cut down since, according to their doctor, I was getting better. I had been without work for months and needed money so I decided to share my place and split the cost. My place was small. They called it a "studio apartment," which meant it had only one room. The kitchen was set off in the corner and my little bed sat over against the opposite wall. It was a cozy arrangement.

My first roommate was a guy named Thurber. He breathed very heavily through his nose and when he spoke the words came out in high-pitched squeaks. Thurber moved quickly with jerks and twists like spasms and for a while I thought he was diseased. He had dark circles under his eyes. Before he moved in I had placed two small green plants on the windowsill but once Thurber saw those he pitched them out the window. "Damn plants!" he yelled after them. Later on I brought in a larger banana plant and he screamed at me, "Get that fucking plant out of ...

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Media Reviews
Booklist

Bradford... makes an assured debut with this mordantly funny collection of stories. Focusing on disenfranchised characters living on the fringes of society, Bradford yields hilarious results, although never at the expense of his characters.

Library Journal

Using first-person narrative throughout, Bradford makes the bizarre seem plausible, but both characters and stories can be troubling and upsetting.

Publishers Weekly

Bradford's bizarre, species-crossing debut collection of 12 stories hits the mark with its singular characters and odd scenarios, its eccentricities blissfully unforced.

Author Blurb Dave Eggers
[Bradford's] stories remain in your head, much like, say, a severed torso might remain under the tracks of a train.... How can stories such as these be, still, so funny, so full of something like joy? These are questions we may never, ever answer. If you don't like Arthur's stories you are not my friend.

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