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Church of the Dog Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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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
Top Customer Reviews
"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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow, McLaren can really tell a story! I really enjoyed the individual characters, but the way their stories blended was masterful. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nora M
Many of the story lines, once introduced, never are developed. Overall, the message is okay, but I wanted more depth. Dreams can inspire us and make us work to goals.... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Sally Daniel
I was ready for something light and fun and this filled the bill! Plus it all takes place in a dream of a place. Again, a fun read.Published on January 15, 2014 by Louie
This book is poignant, poetic, humorous, historical, spiritual, magical and witty. This isn't a self-help book; it's a book about life and how people from different demographics... Read morePublished on December 28, 2013 by Monique A. Gordon
I read this many years ago. I sat down on sunny afternoon and couldn't put it down. Forget lunch or even water I was hooked! I will purchase anything she writes. Read morePublished on December 20, 2013 by juliana
Kaya has great quirky characters in her novels. The storyline is interesting, some places maybe a little far-fetched, but that makes it fun. Read morePublished on November 26, 2010 by Maggie
Not the great American novel, but I found it warm, funny, and true. Plus well-written, I think - I listened to the audio book. Read morePublished on February 9, 2010 by J Austin
This book belies its title in many ways. It has an engaging and almost elfin quality to it. The ability to live with whomever crosses your path and view it all as a blessing is... Read morePublished on November 13, 2009 by Mary J. Butler
I just finished Church of the Dog for the second time. The first time I read it was the first printing in 2000. Read morePublished on June 8, 2009 by Barbara Gourley