A dog called Enzo tells the story of his life and family in The Art of Racing in the Rain. All I’d really heard about the novel in advance was that it was good , and that it made people cry. It lived up to those criteria and then some.
This was an excellent and thoughtful novel. I had expected a story about a family, told from a dog’s point of view, to be a bit Disney – heartwarming and touching, but probably a bit cliché and simplistic, especially when it came to the moral of the story. Enzo is however a very intelligent and philosophical narrator. His dog nature means he is observant, loyal and comforting; on the other hand it means he can’t communicate very well, and this frustrates him throughout.
The title refers to motor racing – Enzo’s owner, Denny, is an aspiring Formula 1 driver (Enzo is named after Enzo Ferrari) with a particular talent for racing in the rain – accepting the danger and remaining calm in the face of it. Enzo does his best to help Denny apply this approach to life when it starts to spiral out of his control. The metaphor carries well, and the speed, adrenaline and excitement of motor racing are extra apparent through a dog’s eyes.
There were a couple of features I wasn’t such a fan of – Enzo made several tenuous film references, which got a bit old after the first few; a couple of potentially lengthy and/or dull scenes were skipped, since they were in buildings Enzo couldn’t access – in itself this could have been a convenient and subtle way of moving the story on, but I felt he talked so much about how he wasn’t there but pieced together what happened, that it defeated the purpose of him not being present. Overall though I was pleasantly surprised and inspired by The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s a story you can really get invested in, and a worthwhile, thought-provoking read.