Excerpt from Doghead by Morten Ramsland, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Doghead

A Novel

by Morten Ramsland

Doghead by Morten Ramsland
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2010, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


That sort of climate – with one child bathed in the golden glow of attention while the other was relegated to the loneliness of letter vandalism – was not the best environment for nurturing sibling love. I have a vague memory of Stinna occasionally pinching me when Mum wasn’t looking. At other times she would come running after me and Aunt Anne Katrine as we walked hand in hand along Birkebladsvej. ‘I want to come too!’ Stinna would shout, throwing dirt and pebbles into the air.

‘No,’ Anne Katrine would reply. ‘Not possible today.’

A little girl with her grandfather’s dark complexion and proud French nose would be left behind on the pavement. What a little bitch, she would think, giving Anne Katrine an angry glare.

So it wasn’t until I was three and started developing a harmless fear of the dark that my sister and I became close. ‘There are no moles living under the beds in my house,’ my father was fond of saying at bedtime whenever his son voiced dubious theories about the diffuse nature of the dark.

‘Dogs won’t come out of the walls when I turn off the light,’ my mother assured me. But not everyone agreed that we lived in a perfectly harmless house.

‘Down in the basement, in the space under the stairs, you know,’ said Stinna, ‘that’s where Doghead lives, you know, and it’s VERY DANGEROUS.’

‘Doghead?’ I stammered. ‘What does it do?’

‘I have no idea,’ replied my sister. ‘But it’s very dangerous, you know. It’s so dangerous that I don’t even know what it does.’

‘Doghead?’ said Dad, giving me an enquiring look.

‘Doghead?’ said my mother.‘Don’t be silly.There’s no such thing.’

‘Then what’s that thing that sits on the front of a dog?’ Stinna asked, giving my mother an innocent look. ‘And who lives in that space under the stairs?’ she went on, until Mum said she’d had enough of all her babbling. ‘Stop scaring your brother,’ said Leila, and she sent Stinna to her room.

But in conjuring up Doghead, Stinna had demonstrated a stroke of genius, and the invisible connection between the Doghead in the space under the stairs, Grandpa Askild’s mysterious talk about German shepherds and bloodhounds, and all of Mum’s mythological creatures soon began disturbing the peace in my parents’ bed. It wasn’t long before Dad got tired of the third party who kept slipping in between him and his wife at night, drowsily murmuring incoherent phrases about a doghead. Dad started out cautiously by having a serious father-to-son talk; later he issued a firm prohibition – and when that didn’t help, he at last resorted to locking the bedroom door before he went to bed. Looming large in my childhood was that locked door, not only as a monument to a lost land, but also as a new beginning. Standing there – at once so close and yet so far away from the promised land of my parents’ bedroom – it suddenly occurred to me that I had a sister.

‘Okay,’ she said and lifted her quilt, ‘but then you have to take me along with you and Aunt Anne Katrine tomorrow.’

***

I might as well tell the story right now. ‘There’s a dog in the basement,’ I said, at the age of eight, to my paternal grandfather during a family dinner. And Askild couldn’t help smiling when I challenged him to go down there himself in five minutes and take a look around.

It was all Stinna’s idea. She was the one who had found the badger skull; she was the one who nicked the two candles; and she was the one who spent half the evening persuading me to lie down in the space under the stairs where the badger skull was already waiting, with two lit candles flickering in its empty eye sockets.

Excerpted from Doghead by Morten Ramsland. Copyright © 2009 by Morten Ramsland. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St Martins Press, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When men are not regretting that life is so short, they are doing something to kill time.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -