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The Color of A Dog Running Away Hardcover – March 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385518552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385518550
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,808,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The love story in Gwyn's debut novel isn't so much between Rhys Lucas, the narrator, and Nuria Rasavall, the mysterious object of his desire, but between the author and Barcelona, the city where Lucas, a 33-year-old grad school dropout, has found his expat niche. After receiving an unsigned postcard inviting him to a rendezvous at a museum, Lucas decides to go, and though the sender is a no-show, Lucas meets Nuria, "who moved with the proprietorial elegance of Barcelona women." The two are later kidnapped and taken to a remote rural area by cult followers of Pontneuf, an ex-priest who believes that he is the reincarnation of a medieval heretic Cathar and that Lucas is the reincarnation of his betrayer. Pontneuf wants revenge, and while he interrogates Lucas over a period of days, Lucas begins to suspect Nuria set him up. He escapes and returns to Barcelona, where he goes on a drug-fueled fugue. Gwyn is not wholly successful in giving Lucas's contemporary life occult resonance, but the glamour of expatriate bohemia is seductively realized. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Young Rhys Lucas finds his agreeably dissolute life as a literary translator in Barcelona upended by an anonymous postcard slipped under his door. It leads him to meet Nuria, the woman who might be his soul mate, in a nearby art gallery as if by chance. But the couple's idyll is soon shattered when they are spirited to a mountain hideaway by a cult leader convinced they are the final reincarnated members of a party of thirteenth-century Cathars who purportedly disappeared in the Pyrenees as they fled Catholic persecution. Unsurprisingly, the leader turns out to be an overzealous buffoon. But after Lucas escapes and awaits Nuria's return, the surreal tale drops wry hints that the historical linkage may actually be stronger than he and his circle of oddball friends (and odder acquaintances) are ready to admit. The comic aspects (especially of life in the cult) could have used a bit more heightening, and after-the-fact narration reduces the dramatic tension unnecessarily. But despite its minor structural flaws, this remains an enjoyably cockeyed exploration of identity and rebirth. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Set in late 90s Barcelona ("a city on the brink, infatuated with its own improbability"), this strange tale of love and obsession involves Rhys Lucas, a thirty-three year old ex-pat grad school dropout and the seductive, enigmatic Nuria Rasavall, lovers who meet after a mysterious postcard appears in Lucas' apartment, their attraction incendiary and immediate. Consumed with his new affair, Lucas grows careless of his responsibilities, easily distracted by Nuria, although he admits to a vague sensation of being watched. One late evening, Lucas is visited by the "roof people" while his lover sleeps; the roof people are silent as ninjas, hopping the rooftops of the sleeping city, sometimes to steal, others to watch. Cocooned in his earthly bliss, Lucas takes this visitation as a mere curiosity, but later, when he and Nuria are kidnapped by masked strangers, he has cause to wonder what else he has missed in his preoccupation.

Isolated in an ascetic cell somewhere in the Pyrenees, Lucas comes face to face with Andre Pontneuf, the leader of a Cathar sect that mirrors one from the thirteenth century, the heretical group persecuted relentlessly by the Church in this part of the world. Believing that he is the reincarnation of the Cathar's leader, Bernard Rocher, Pontneuf suggests that Lucas may now inhabit the body of his betrayer, both of them replaying the earlier drama in modern times. During his interrogation by Pontneuf, Lucas is restricted from seeing Nuria; the suspicion slowly grows that she may have been an active agent in their abduction. Escaping his confinement, Lucas returns to the streets of Barcelona and his odd friends, lost in a drugged fugue, yearning for the early days of his enchantment with Nuria.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Bascom on December 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review is for the Doubleday first U.S. hardcover edition, 2006, 305 pages. THE COLOR OF A DOG RUNNING AWAY does not appear on the USA Today's Top 150 Best-Selling book list.

I purchased this book in May 2007 for a good reason, which I immediately forgot. Eighteen months later, I blew off the dust and read the flyleaf. It's about some guy in Barcelona who receives an anonymous postcard that leads to a torrid love affair with Nuria and their abduction by a religious cult, from which he escapes but she stays, and he returns to Barcelona where, in a drug and alcohol induce daze, he tries to figure out what happened. The flyleaf also mentions roof dwellers and a fire-eating prophet. Except for the last 23 pages of the novel, that synopsis tells the story. Nevertheless, the tale has elements of a mystery.

THE COLOR...is the first novel by a poet. I classify it as general fiction with perhaps a literary treatment, I say perhaps because I'm too lazy to understand poetry and I suspect there is meaningful theme in this story that other readers will grasp. That theme is likely related to a statement by the character Igbar Zoff on page 70: "The point is that out of any situation, whether disastrous or not, can spring unforeseeable benefits." I think the author was foretelling.

This being a first novel I proceeded with caution. For quite many pages, the author seemed to be painting the seedy characters and backstreets of Barcelona where tourists should not go or they will be mugged. Indeed, a tourist mugging is the first scene after the prologue. There are other scenes unrelated to the plot or subplots. Descriptions are sensual, adjectives used liberally, poetically perhaps. But it is interesting. The author lets us see, feel and smell Barcelona's dirty underwear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KatPanama on July 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished Richard Gywn's The Color of a Dog Running Away last night. Whilst I enjoyed the book overall, the last half doesn't sustain the excellence of the first half. A very good read, nonetheless; refreshingly different and literate. The Barcelona setting is a delight throughout. The Cathar theme is inspired. Recommended.
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