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Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories Paperback – January 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (January 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393321207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393321203
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Frequently portrayed as beer-guzzling, duck-shooting, wife-beating bigots, Southern white men don't catch much of a break these days. Yet in Last Days of Dog-Men, Brad Watson manages to portray this much-maligned beast with empathy and insight. Equally important, he also manages to make clear the importance of their dogs--an importance that can cut both ways. In the title story, for example, a man has an affair that's consummated in the foam-rubber pole-vault pad at the local playing field. When his wife finds out, she gets even the surest way she knows how, by having his dog put to sleep. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Dogs, in their simplicity and certainty, have an emotional stature equal to that of the people whose souls they seem to mirror in these eight precisely crafted stories. "Humans," says the narrator of the title story, "are aware of very little, it seems to me, the artificial brainy side of life... the doltish psychologies we've placed over our lives like a stencil. A dog keeps his life simple and unadorned. He is who he is, and his only task is to assert this." This narrator takes up jogging with a greyhound that helps him get back into shape, until his wife has the dog put to sleep, to get back at him for cheating on her. In "The Wake," a highly symbolic, surreal tale, a stray dog's death beneath a man's house coincides with his receipt in the mail of a packing crate that contains his ex-lover, whose accusatory voice confronts him with past mistakes and failures and his tendency, as it were, to let dead dogs lie. "Bill" concerns an octogenarian woman whose main companion, a trembling, almost blind poodle, means more to her than her husband, who's confined to a rest home. Dogs in these enigmatic stories are inextricably linked with human destinies, marking the trajectories of lives, marriages, jobs, secret affairs, divorces. Alabama-based Watson has uncanny insight into canine psychology and, beyond that, into how people project their own emotions, aggression, love and insecurities onto pets and the animal kingdom.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a very fine book, containing writing of such finely chiselled precision that I'd often find myself stunned into introspection by the power of Watson's insight or a particularly poignant turn of phrase. This doesn't happen often; it's the power of deep music or a great painting to stop you right there! to think it out.
Watson's use of the dog to illuminate the spirit of humanity and its tangle of desire is sublimely realized. He deftly avoids reducing the dog or its humans to Obvious Metaphor, a move that would have been all too easy if he'd conceived this relationship as Hallmark-type schmaltz. The people and dogs in these pages transcend mere caricature; they become more than the sum of the words used to describe them and achieve something like living. It's an uncanny evocation of the complex world of pain, desire and loss that lurks just beneath the patina of everyday memory and dull rationalization. Like some animal supersense, Watson's writing cuts through the veneer of the commonplace to examine the crux of our most important matters. Watson gives us ourselves, unprettified and naked, shivering with emotion and memory and the ugly afterbirth of the various tragedies that compose the fabric of our lives.
These are stories to be cherished and enjoyed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is another book review by Wolfie and Kansas, the boonie dogs from Toto, Guam. Human reviewers seem to have trouble placing the stories in Brad Watson's "Last Days of the Dog-Men" in the proper genre, describing these little gems as literary fiction. To dogs, however, these stories belong in the horror genre. In practically every story, a dog is murdered. From a canine viewpoint, these stories are what we would expect from Edgar Allen Poe if he had decided to use dogs as victims in his stories.
Watson's treatment of his canine characters is surprisingly good for a human author. Our only complaint is that he nonetheless spends more time developing his human characters. While he handles them well, they are intrinsically less interesting than dogs. Perhaps in his next collection, Watson will dispense with the noncanine animals of primate derivation and focus exclusively on dogs
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anycc on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am not enthusiastic about short stories, but this collection was a page turner.
It's got some southern gothic in it, sure, but I didn't find it depressing. Rich
and very pleasurable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Hivner on January 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of 8 short stories, each one with a dog involved, its behaviors and relationship with the people driving the story. There is no doubt that Brad Watson is a talented writer. His characters jump off the page presenting themselves to you forcefully. Some of his metaphors and similes left me shaking my head mumbling, 'how did he come up with that?'

Having said that, I didn't enjoy Last Days entirely. This is a sad, ugly book. I had no problem with the melancholy characters and the beautiful way Watson presented their lives. But some of these stories are inhabited by ugly people doing cruel things, both to other people and to the dogs in their lives. If you are a dog lover as I am, be forewarned that dogs die in this book at the hands of selfish, arrogant characters.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jon on March 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was fully engrossed with the characterization and development of not only the dogs but the intensity of their relationships with humans. The reviewer who claimed she's an animal lover but hated this is obviously not a person with depth and would probably be more comfortable reading happy-go-lucky fluff. This reading is for intelligent, introspective types with a penchant for thought provoking and imaginative storytelling. For days, even months after I was thinking and even dreaming of these short gems. It takes a lot to touch me and Watson delivered.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Watson's using Dogdom as a point of reference for human yearnings and frustrations is a master stroke. Though his blending of hilarity and pathos might be called a characteristic of Southern Lit., his voice and his insights are unique. This book is a "keeper."
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