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Church of the Dog Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143113429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143113423
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this treacly reprint of a novel first published in 2000 (by a now-defunct indie press), Edith and Earl McRae have lived on their Oregon farm for 60 years, but know their time is coming to an end. After a withdrawn Earl discovers a lump in his neck, he struggles to reconnect with his wife and his alienated grandson, Daniel. Into this family tragedy strolls Mara, a chaotic figure who sees auras and appears in other characters' dreams—in other words, she's the stereotypical freethinking outsider who opens stoics to the redemptive powers of love. The result is an ersatz inspirational novel that mistakes the characters' tendencies to natter on about God and ethics and spout goofy New Age-isms for plot or character development. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Kaya McLaren's sincere and generous feelings for all the creatures of this world make this novel of comforting magic both heartfelt and heartening."
ùChristina Schwarz, author of DROWNING RUTH and ALL IS VANITY

"What a genuinely surprising novel Kaya McLaren has written, with characters that are each, in their own way, quietly magical and also heartbreakingly true. Like Barbara Kingsolver's early heroines, Mara O'Shaunnessey lives in the real world but reminds us, in all her actions, that animals can be messengers of truth and love has transformative powers."
ùCammie McGovern, author of EYE CONTACT

"CHURCH OF THE DOG is a radiant novel that honors the broken among us, tenderly healing with its love, humor, and understanding. Kaya McLaren is a deeply wonderful writer. From the opening scene of Mara in her grandmother's garden, through the wrenching finale on the ranch, I was stunned by this book. It's a classic on the spirituality of everyday life..."
ùLuanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of LIGHT OF THE MOON

"This is a sweet, whimsical tale of love and friendship, a slice of pure life. It is a beautiful story that is not to be missed."
ùLynne Hinton, author of FRIEND:SHIP CAKE and THE ARMS OF GOD

"With prose as clear and pure as mountain water, Kaya McLaren has written a testament to the plain sense of things. CHURCH OF THE DOG is spiritual, even a little magical, but it's also incredibly practical. McLaren has a glorious way of finding beauty in the bigger picture. A lovely, uplifting book."
ùSarah Addison Allen, author of GARDEN SPELLS and THE SUGAR QUEEN


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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A great read, this little book is short and engaging.
Ark Lady (Diana L Guerrero)
This gem of a book will be a favorite library edition and you will read it over and over again (5 times already!).
Evelyn C. Green
The story will make you chuckle, it will make you question and it will make some things become more clear.
Jan Covey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
How often can you pick up a book and think right from the very beginning, "As soon as I finish reading this book, I am going to write my own."? That is what Kaya McLaren's words did for me. They were an absolute inspiration. Her style is crisp and refreshing - not intimidating. She tells a wonderful story in a narrative that lopes. (It doesn't gallop like Frank McCourt's did in "Angela's Ashes" - a book you can't put down but one that leaves you exhausted.)
"Church of the Dog" is a work of fiction, but it is about people who are real. People you have met if you have ever lived in the rural west. Mara is the extremely creative and energetic single woman any single woman would like to emulate. She has dreams that help her and her friends navigate through life. Edith is the exuberant grandmother who has not let life's tragedies embitter her. In her advancing years, she is still singing the song, "It Is New Every Morning." Her practical, taciturn rancher-husband has not cramped her style one bit, but it is too bad her love of life did not rub off on Earl a little bit more. He might have wanted to stick around a little longer. The somewhat-troubled grandson evades true involvement in life by hiding behind his camera lens. The pictures he takes capture events and scenes - recording them more clearly than memory.
In the end of the book, love and family and hope prevail. I cannot think of three better reasons to read a book.
P.S. Don't be discouraged from reading the book if you saw it at a bookstore and were turned off by the poorly-written blurb on the back of the book. I am certain Kaya McLaren did not write those words. She knows how to construct a sentence with matching subjects and verbs. She knows the English language very well indeed. And she knows the human heart.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn C. Green on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This gem of a book will be a favorite library edition and you will read it over and over again (5 times already!). In this day and age that an Author of Kaya's intuitiveness and spirituality is uplifting and such a positive affirmation of our life. Kaya's characters come to life with a belief and caring for each one. As I am of the older generation, I particularly loved Edith and Earl and their love story. Keep on writing, Kaya and thank you for this Angelic gift!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Travis Judd on June 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Being a 2yr Highschool Student of Kaya's, I may be a little biased. If asked to describe Church Of The Dog I would use the analagy of Being a fly on the wall while, Sitting Bull, Quintin Terrantino, Bob Dylan, And Henry Rollins shared a morning cup of coffee. Her writing style is very unique as is she. And her phillosophies on life and its anonimities Never ceases to shine a new light on a subject. No matter How many times I've thought about the same thing. Great Job Kaya, I'll be looking forward to reading some more books in the near future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laree Ott on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the interview with the author at the end of the book, she relates that when she began writing The Church of the Dog, she did not intend to have it published. It is a well intentioned book, but it reads like an extended journal of a middle school student who is exploring the genre of supernatural fantasy. The main character, with her sugary-super-special-magical-powers, is just a bit too precious for my taste.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
In rural Northeast Oregon, Edith and Earl McRae have been married for decades, but over time they have drifted apart though they live together on their farm. Edith reflects back that the somewhat reticent Earl may have loved her, but probably never thought of her as a friend. However while shaving seventy-nine years old Earl nicks his neck; he places toilet paper on the cut only to discover a cyst just like his late dog Blue had. He assumes it is cancer.

Assuming the cyst is a warning sign that he will soon meet his maker, he is determined to do two things before he dies; he needs to regain what he believes he let slide; his ties to his wife and his estranged grandson Daniel, an Alaskan fisherman running away from home since his parents died years ago. Earl campaigns in person with Edith and by letter asking Daniel to come home to his grandpa's "land of success and failure". Mara O'Shaugnessy arrives in town as the new art teacher. She buys a pet, Harvey the Hog. Tim Grennan allows Mara and Harvey to reside on his family's ranch next door to the McRae farm Soon Mara's mischief brings happiness and chaos to all she meets especially her neighbors the McRaes. When Daniel returns, hr is worried about his grandpa dying, but instead he finds his grandparents happy; their catalyst Mara; but even she with her whimsy upbeat demeanor fears she will never reach the soul of the stoic sad fisherman.

This engaging inspirational relationship drama is an interesting tale that rotates points of view between Mara, Edith, Earl and Daniel. Thus the story line is obviously character driven starting with Mara who works her optimistic magic bringing joy to all she meets, especially the elderly McRae couple. Although somewhat stereotyped with its New Age wisdom, Kaya McLaren provides an inspiring story that says fills the cup up if you feel it is half empty.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Haddon on March 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book wasn't a tear jerker in the sense being tragic, but instead was surprising by eliciting tears of both joy and pain from me. And this book is laugh out loud funny in places. I would have thought that I wouldn't be able to suspend my disbelief in all things psychic or supernatural but Ms. McLaren's lyrical style made it easy to believe in things magical. Hers is a different way of looking at the world. This is a great book for anyone learning to grieve or needing to find connections to the world around them.
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