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Lily and the Octopus

by Steven Rowley

Part memoir, part magical realism, this poignant account of the bond between a neurotic dog owner and his loveable dachshund is hard to resist, especially for any dog lovers out there. As well as a moving tribute to man’s best friend, it has a lot to say about living in the present, coping with grief and how to relate meaningfully to others. Although a very emotional read, it manages to be both amusing and cathartic at the same time.

Extract

'When are you coming back?' Lily would ask me those words every time I had to leave her. The first time was four months or so after I first brought her home. She was fascinated when I pulled my luggage out of the deep closet in the second bedroom. As soon as I had the suitcase unzipped she climbed pluckily inside, and since she wasn't yet fully grown, a few wrinkles of skin puddled around her seated butt.

WHAT IS THIS ! COZY ! BOX ! THIS ! WOULD ! MAKE ! A! GREAT ! BED ! FOR ! ME !
I ! LOVE ! ITS ! SIDES ! AND ! THIS ! ELASTIC ! STRAP !

'That is a suitcase. I have to put my things in it so I can travel.'
'Great. I'm already in it, so you're ready to go!'
'Sadly, I can't have you in it. It's for my clothes and shoes and shaving kit.'
'Why can't I be in it? I'm one of your things!'
I sat down beside the suitcase and scratched the back of her head, between her ears.
'You are, in fact, my most treasured thing.'

Parallels

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Heroic Measures by Jill Clement
 

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