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Rose in a Storm: A Novel Hardcover – October 5, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Katz, best-selling author of the anecdotal Bedlam Farm books, returns to his fiction roots with this gently appealing tale of a sheepdog named Rose. Fully immersing himself inside the mind and the soul of his furry protagonist, he conjures up a believably canine view of the joys and sorrows of life on a small farm. Spinning the narrative from Rose’s point of view, he paints a portrait of a close-knit community, where animals and humans rely on one another for comfort and protection. With her master injured and a ferocious storm swirling around at the height of lambing season, it is up to Rose to call upon all her instinctive resources to battle the elements of nature in order to save the lives of her sheep and rescue her farmer. Heartwarming fodder for the pet set. --Margaret Flanagan


“[A] compelling story . . . a great read.”—The Roanoke Times

Rose in a Storm is told through the eyes of a working sheepdog. . . . [Jon] Katz uses his extensive study of animal behavior to pen a story that rings true [and] gives Rose a powerful, believable voice.”—Lincoln Journal Star

“A captivating novel that will touch your heart and soul with its tale of bravery, dedication and loyalty between dog and man.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“[A] heart-tugging tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; First Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345502655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345502650
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bedlam Farm in upstate New York is where I live, write and tend my animals - four dogs, two donkeys, two barn cats. The rambling old farmhouse was built in 1862; it's surrounded by pastures, streams and wooded hillsides, plus four barns and a milkhouse in various stages of disrepair.

I write books- memoirs, novels, short story collections, and beginning in 2011, children's books. I am also a photographer.

In my former life, before I grew preoccupied with sheepherding and moving manure around. I wanted to change my life and write more about the experience of living with and understanding animals.
I write novels and nonfiction books (I've written 20 books), along with columns and articles for Rolling Stone, Wired, the New York Times, and the website HotWired.
Coming to the farm turned out to be a Joseph Campbell style "Hero's Journey." I went off into some dark places, got divorced, struggled to face myself, and found someone to share my life.

My wife Maria Wulf is an artist, who specializes in fiber art. She works in the Studio Barn across the road from the farmhouse. Earlier this year, I thought briefly of selling Bedlam Farm. After getting married, we decided to stay here. My daughter Emma, a sportswriter living in Brooklyn, has written her own book about New York baseball. I publish a blog I love dearly - My photos appear there daily. My dogs are Izzy, Lenore, Frieda and Rose, the working dog who helps me run the farm.

My writing life began with a novel - "Sign Off" - an unwittingly prescient story about the jarring changes in work and security.

This year - 2010 - I am returning to fiction. I've written a novel, "Rose In A Storm," about a border collie stranded on a farm in upstate New York during a terrible storm. I wrote this book in conjunction with some animal behaviorists who helped me enter the mind of a dog, and hopefully, be faithful to that. My first children's book "Meet The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm," will be published by Henry Holt next year. I have just finished a short story collection to be published next year by Villard/Random House.
In recent years, photography has become central to me as well as writing. I have been fortunate enough to have several gallery showings of my work, and also sell my photos as notecards through the Redux Gallery in Dorset, Vt.

I am also working on a book about animal grieving. Hopefully, it will be useful.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Philip R. Heath TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz is a unique novel. It tells the story of Sam, a farmer in Upstate New York, and his border collie Rose. It is told in third person yet focus on Rose's perspective for the most part. The story begins as the farm is about to be hit by a blizzard that is unlike any storm that anyone has seen for a very long time. It creates many challenges for Sam and Rose which revolve around their survival and that of the farm and animals on it. Katz does a magnificent job of painting the picture of a "working" dog on a farm through Rose's eyes and mind. He does not give the animal a human voice but Rose thinks and acts in a way that is distinct to dogs based on Katz's research on the subject. It is fascinating to see how instinct, memory, and her "map" lead her to her various actions. I also found it very intriguing how she handled situations where she could not find any information from these sources on what to do. Katz really brings out her confusion and frustration in these situations. In addition to herding the sheep, cows, goats, etc. on the farm, Rose also has to fend off predators too. The elements and nature present no shortage of obstacles for Rose and Sam. Katz also illustrates the relationship between these two over the course of the novel, and I found the progression to be touching. I found that Katz also managed to strike an emotional chord with me as I read the story. The ending is satisfying, and I highly recommend this to anyone who loves dogs or life on the farm.

Overall: A
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jill Clardy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Rose in a Storm" is a heartwarming novel about the trials of a hardworking sheep herding farm dog and her owner, Sam, during the "storm of the century". Rose fulfills her role as a working dog with determination and vigor. She and Sam have a cordial working relationship, but she is by no means a "pet". She doesn't even like to be touched or petted by Sam. She was devoted to Sam's wife, who died of cancer, though Rose doesn't understand why she left.

Though the novel is told from the perspective of a 3rd person narrator, it is primarily from Rose's perspective. She feels responsible for the sheep, but also the cows, goats, chickens and even the useless only donkey that Sam adopted. During a severe ice storm, Rose and Sam work together to keep the animals alive, but when Sam is injured and has to be helicoptered out to save his life, Rose refuses to leave and stays behind to do her job. What happens while Sam is gone is wonderful and astonishing.

The novel has a very satisfing ending. I found it believable and interesting. I had seen a demonstration of the determination and skill of sheep herding dogs when we visited Ireland, and recall the farmer saying that these dogs were not pets, but were highly intelligent and hardworking.

My only criticism of the novel is the title - surely the author/editors could come up with something more interesting?
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Janet Perry VINE VOICE on September 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll be the first to admit it, I love Jon Katz's books about his dogs and I've read them all. So I was taken aback when I saw this was a novel and not only a novel but one whose protagonist has the same name and, in fact, the same temperament as his own wonderful dog, Rose.

So I was skeptical, to say the least. before beginning this book. But within a page or two I was a convert. What Katz wants to do is to give us a picture of the world from the dog's point of view. Basing his ideas on the most current research into dog behavior, the story shows us how the world looks to Rose, a working border collie, and how she perceives her role in it.

This role, the protector of the farm, faces its greatest test during an epic storm which forms most of the action in the book. The farm, the varied animals on it (and not just the sheep), the buildings, and even Rose's owner, face immense challenges. How Rose deals with them, solves the problems, and emerges from the storm make for compelling reading.

I enjoyed this book so much. I felt as if in writing a novel Katz told me more clearly and more fully what the world looks like to a dog than all the animal behavior books I've ever read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By cachkn46 on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Beware: the second to last paragraph might spoil the plot for you if you plan to read this book.

I was looking for something to read while on vacation, and happened to pull this one off the shelf in the library. I am fascinated with animal behavior, so this book appealed to me at first glance. On the positive side, it did keep my interest long enough for me to finish the book, and Katz's view of the inner thoughts and mental maps of a working farm dog initially intrigued me. That's where the 2 stars come from.

However, it was so repetitive: same ideas about a dog's mental map and level of comprehension hammered out over and over again, unvaried sentence structure, and many weary words. Character development was weak for all but Rose, the heroine farm dog. Yes, the focus is on Rose, but the story is told from the 3rd person, so why not flesh out Sam and the other animals a bit more? How many times did we have to hear that the cats were standoffish, and the rooster officious? Couldn't Katz think of anything more substantial than the trite stereotypes of familiar animals?

Further, it seemed to me that his approach was too explicit. Rather than allow the reader to discover his own understanding of how a dog's mind works through an intricate plot and/or vivid description, Katz simply tells you straight out what he thinks Rose can and cannot understand, and exactly how he imagines her to think through problems. Blah.

Finally, the weakest part of the book was the overly contrived and simplistic attempt at deus ex machina. I am an animal tracker and a biologist, and this was just too much: Unbelievable on several levels.
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