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Dogwalker: Stories Hardcover – August 14, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (August 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375412328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375412325
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,469,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bradford's bizarre, species-crossing debut collection of 12 stories hits the mark with its singular characters and odd scenarios, its eccentricities blissfully unforced. Peopled by a cast of hybrid dog-men, cat-faced circus freaks and sweetly bemused, more-or-less ordinary humans, these tales are compact gems, at once provocative and sweet. "Mattress" chronicles the nameless narrator's quest for the eponymous bedding, showcasing the carefree, harmless ethos of a genuine slacker; the plot of "Six Dog Christmas" can be deduced from the title, yet this delicious morsel (it clocks in at under five pages) is a serious charmer. Longer and less focused, though still held together by Bradford's loopy internal logic, is the meandering "Dogs," in which a man impregnates a dog, thus initiating an unsettling series of events involving potential messiahs and a woman in an iron lung giving birth to a litter of puppies. Though Bradford plays with weighty ideas (faith, the line separating man and beast), his less-is-more style may leave some readers wishing for a thicker, meatier text to chew on. However, even the most skeptical will be charmed by his guileless narrative voice. Every story is told from the first person, and though Bradford employs several narrators, the voice throughout remains consistent. Frank, good-hearted, slightly na‹ve, almost childlike in its simple chronicling of events, it will engage the reader immediately. (Aug. 24)Forecast: Bradford, an O. Henry Award winner, will attract younger readers with his particular brand of wacky weirdness. Though the jacket a closeup of a dog doesn't indicate the strange goings-on within, raves from Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace and David Sedaris will snag browsers.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Of the 12 stories in this first collection by O. Henry Award-winning author Bradford, seven are about dogs. The lead story, Catface, tells of a mutant family, mutant puppies, and a young man whose generosity embraces them all. Mattress recounts the humorous high jinks of buying and losing a mattress, while in South for the Winter the oddball narrator borrows his blind friend's car for a jaunt to a warmer climate. Mollusks is the goofy, far-out tale of finding a gargantuan slug in a glove compartment, and the outlandish and playful Little Rodney and Bill McQuill entertain as well. Using first-person narrative throughout, Bradford makes the bizarre seem plausible, but both characters and stories can be troubling and upsetting. Bradford peoples his tales with society's dropouts, misfits, and outcasts, burdened with a whole gamut of emotional and physical problems. Even so, he reserves a place for innocence, and the stories have an upbeat ending. For larger fiction collections.Mary Szczesiul, Roseville P.L., MI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Arthur Bradford was born in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. An O Henry Award winner, he has published fiction and non-fiction in Esquire, McSweeney's, Men's Journal, and the NY Times. He is also the creator and director of "How's Your News?", a documentary film series which has been broadcast on HBO, PBS and MTV. He directs a summer camp and lives in Portland, Oregon.

website:
http://artbradford.com/

Customer Reviews

The stories have good plots!
Eden Walker
It is the lack of emotion in the characters of Dogwalker that allow Bradford to write in his simple, unassuming, mutant-dogs-are-an-everyday-occurence style.
D. Bakken
See a reading if you can, and enjoy the book, it's well worth a read.
R. Burlingame

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Burlingame on August 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderul collection of stories. David Foster Wallace hits the nail on the head when he says that reading Bradford is like having lunch with the part of you that dreams at night. Strange things occur and exceedingly pleasant, non-neurotic first-person narrators react as you would in a dream: they note the odd situations they find themselves in but then move on (with wonderful results). It's like being able to slow your dreams down--not to mention remember them--and savor all the strange details. The writing is also blissfully clean. I noticed one of the comments above mentioned Bradford's sideburns. I saw a reading and let me tell you: his gums are not to be believed (let's pray he keeps his teeth). See a reading if you can, and enjoy the book, it's well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gonzobrarian on November 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Reading Dogwalker, a bizarre collection of stories by Arthur Bradford is well worth the short time it takes to transform the mundane into the weirdness we so crave for amusement. All of the stories contained within revolve around Bradford's attempts in finding some solace from one's self-imposed boredom and stagnation through stray canines and equally stray roommates. If it means anything, this collection takes place throughout Texas; apparently, there is a lot of weird down there.

Bradford writes with childlike simplicity and whimsy, though his plots border on the uber-strange and even the horrific. Cat-faced carnies, fruit sculpting with chainsaws, blind friends who own cars, and the glamour of giant slugs are just some of the musings Bradford could expound on in greater detail; stories I'd happily delve into when in need of a fresh bizarro-cleanse. Yet he tends to focus on dogs and roommates, and the fleeting affection he has for both. By whatever circumstance, both tend to be maimed, mutated or psychologically unhinged, yet that doesn't stop him from adopting each for a brief laugh to pass the time.

What is surprising about this collection of stories is the degree of openness or ambivalence set forth by Bradford. While he languidly chooses his own adventure in each, the degree of tension that rises in most of the stories is soon enough offset by a delicate weirdness that prevents real malice from taking over and sending the reader dashing to the nearest bottle of Pepto. Hence, a slight hint of unsettling will envelop the reader, which is exactly what a good collection of short stories is supposed to do. It was a very quick read and stories like Mollusks, The House of Alan Matthews, Bill McQuill, Chainsaw Apple and Roslyn's Dog tend to linger in my mind, to the extent that I hope Bradford will publish more.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Slazz on July 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm pretty sure that Tom Waits mated with a book and the result is Arthur Bradford. If I told you that the characters in Dogwalker live on the same block as The Eyeball Kid and Table Top Joe, and if you understood that, you should not only have read this book by now - you should be actively refusing to loan it out to relatives and friends without a security deposit. Each chapter in Dogwalker reads like the discovery of a new and fascinating insect; if that isn't praise, what is?
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For its literary merits, I should have probably awarded this book two stars; early reviews are right to point out that much of the book's prose is flat and unspired, that many of the book's non-sequiturs are forced, that some stories seem like abandoned fragments, that the characters and situations are willfully eccentric. And much of this is pretty much true, yet Dogwalker is an enjoyable book nonetheless. How? I perceive Bradford as a kind of David Lynch of short fiction--love him or hate him, you're certainly going to receive a strange bolt of the weird when reading his stories. Often, these pieces have a unique and grotesque humor; I loved "Chainsaw Apple" and "Bill McQuill." Years ago, I read "Catface" when a sophmore in college and ever since sought out Bradford's works; "Catface" rightfully begins the collection--since it defines the tone and is the most interestly constructed of the pieces. Bradford owes an obvious debt to Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son--nothing wrong with that, really--and here is some of the oddness of Johnson's stories, but little of the poetry and compassion. After waiting for this collection to come out, I have to say I'm a little disappointed, but that there are a few strong pieces that make the reading worthwhile.
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By crazytraci on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Arthur Bradford is striking (& a gentleman)! His short stories made me laugh outload! His writing is both inviting & innocent. Dog Walker has the sense of the absurd & wonder equal to Flanery O'Conner's "A good man is hard to find" & Denis Johnson's "Jesus's Son". Fabulous read!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PARTHO ROY on September 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Arthur Bradford, like most of the authors of the same "McSweeney's" and "This American Life" style, has a strange imagination. There is little literary complexity in this book--no motifs or worldly metaphors, no multi-layered narrative, no grand apotheosis, sometimes no real plots--just twisted plots about dogs, three-legged dogs, guys with cat faces, talking dogs, chainsaws, and dog-human hybrids. Bradford, who bears an uncanny resemblance to actor Jason Lee (of "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy" fame), writes in an unassuming style that never fails to please the reader, perhaps because he demands little more than simply reading and reacting to his idiosyncratic (and truly funny) tales. Which is precisely the straightforward appeal of this collection. So if you need a breather after "War and Peace," check out "Dogwalker." Give your mind a rest and your senses a bit of a shock.
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