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Comment: This book is in very good condition. Clean cover, sharp corners, tight square binding, clean unmarked pages. Not ex-library. There are no tears, creases or dog ears anywhere on the cover or the pages. Pages are intact and not marred by notes, underlining or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Let the Dog Drive Hardcover – May 1, 1993

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Winner of New York University's Bobst Emerging Writers Award, this tedious first novel blends various genres: surreal satire, detective fiction, road trip and Barthelme-like fantasy, spiked with movie lore and literary allusions. The result is a hollow if technically proficient postmodernist exercise. Bud Salem, the 18-year-old narrator, flees California and his mother, a flaky televangelist. Hitchhiking in the Mojave Desert in 1975, he teams up with Sylvia Cushman, a "literate housewife" who perceives secret geometric patterns in Emily Dickinson's verse. Bud makes a pilgrimage to Dickinson's house in Amherst, Mass., and then goes on to Detroit, where he meets Sylvia's husband, Joshua, an auto engineer who tests cars for safety by having dogs drive the vehicles in bloody, fatal accidents. A wealthy Iranian debutante hiding from death squads, photographs of dogs' souls taken by Bud's father (an ex-stuntman in Tarzan films) and a shootout with a lunatic cowboy in Brooklyn's Coney Island aquarium are elements of a plot that careens from New York to New Orleans to Texas. Fans of old movies and hardboiled whodunits of the '30s may enjoy the recurring references.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"You'd think nothing would live up to this title, but the book, being more generous as well as witty, more than tops it...incandescent.”

-The New Yorker

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 295 pages
  • Publisher: NewYork University Press (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814712053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814712054
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L Metz on January 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was one of my first adolescent literary loves. It was among the first that began my lensding library of contemporary fiction. As such, I have purchased it about five times. Each time that it comes back, I read it again. It is fresh and touching each time as it was the first. In Sylvia, I found a literary woman who was worth idolizing. She is by no means perfect, but it is by that token that one cannot help but love her. Not love her a little; rather, she challenges you to not fall madly and passionately in love with her. When you do, she won't give you another thought. She was a woman both self-absorbed and extroverted. Needless to say that I fell in love with her. She is a woman ruled by the men in her life, but fixed by a female literary force, both powerful and meek. In contrast, Orange Boy is ruled by women, powerful ones who are destructive when brought together. The conflicts of male and female energy, of intellectual and sexual concerns and of family versus personal responsibilities are presented in "Drive" like nowhere else that I have yet to find. This book is as brilliant as it was the first time that I read it. Thank you to Bowman for his intimacy with beauty.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has propped a book on the steering wheel for a little reading at 65 mph can appreciate this book. Anyone who hasn't shouldn't write book reviews. Anyone incensed with the "crash dummies" or concerned with experimentation using animals can appreciate the dark satire of this book. Anyone who had juvenile fantasies about a redhead can appreciate the strange love story within this book. Anyone who has hitchhiked can relate to this book.
For me, all of the above. I loved this book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By boudinot@yahoo.com on July 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
David Bowman's "Let the Dog Drive," while frequently funny, seems to suffer from a case of wackiness for wackiness' sake, a sort of look-how-crazy-I-am voice that leads us through various scenes of senseless violence and college bull session-like ruminations on such highbrow fare as Emily Dickinson. Which is a shame, since there's a lot of good material here, hiding just behind the screen of self-conscious hilarity. The scene that lends the book its title hints at potential the rest of the story never quite lives up to, leaving us to grow tired of the orange motif, the limp terrorism subplot, and various instances where characters are shot or beat up without managing to elicit any sympathy from the reader. When a suposedly focal character dies and you find yourself not particularly caring and in fact being *annoyed* that the other characters are obsessed with her, you know this story is in trouble.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A reader on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book at a used bookstore and took it home because (1) I liked the title [I've got dogs], (2) The front cover said it was a "New York Times Notable Book," (3) The back cover indicated that it was the winner of the "Elmer Bobst Award for Emerging Writers" [I'd never heard of this award before... perhaps now I know why], (4) The first paragraph had an intriguing line about a red head: "Her hair is red, but shows no sign of flames... yet" [I've got flaming red hair].

I anticipated a fun story and was beyond disappointed. That's putting it mildly. Despite having finished reading the book 2 days ago, I am still haunted by a gruesome scene in which 4 live dogs are killed as "crash test dummies" -- apparently just for the hell of it. Normally I pass books on to friends. My sense of decency (or something) prevents me from doing that with this one.

The narrative is at times clever and the humor is often over-the-top. I guess the violence was meant to be cartoonish rather than realistic. Why then does it haunt me? I don't think of myself as overly sensitive or squeamish. But I do believe that this book is riddled with gratuitous violence. The plot is thin, erratic and would probably be most appreciated by adolescent males.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Let the Dog Drive is a tribute to the hard boiled detective genre and to offbeat American classics like Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. In this strange road novel, the young hero's life is transformed when he hitches a ride with an eccentric older woman whose main pleasure in life involves hurling citrus from moving automobiles. Their adventures together, and his solo exploits after her murder, are truly bizarre. It's hard to give an accurate description of this unique bildungsroman, but, if you enjoy the likes of Joe Lansdale, Don Webb, Neil Barrett Jr. or Gary Raisor, you'll probably get a kick out of this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 1996
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book that never telegraphs where it's
taking you next. The characters are bizarre but so fully
drawn that you really think you know them. It is a great
book for those who have a wanderlust, a quirky side, or
have ever participated in a Ralph Nader study.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
The first time that I have ever had to stop reading a book so that I could applaud the author. An absolutely incredible, wild and fantastic ride. Bowman paints a picture better than anyone since Monet.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Even though I failed to find a plot or a point to this book, I kept plugging along. I have to confess, though, I refused to finish this book upon reaching a particularly gruesome account of the deliberate dismemberment of certain animals. Enough said.
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