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The Dog: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 9, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1St Edition edition (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307378233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307378231
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Dog

One of Publishers Weekly Top Ten Books of 2014

"The Dog is a brilliant satire . . . [O'Neill] has a fabulous ear for language, as good as nearly anyone in American Literature."--John Freeman, The Bostion Globe

"Every page of The Dog is a little masterpiece of comedy, erudition and linguistic acrobatics."--The Washington Post

"A fine, complex portrait of a modern-day soul in despair."--

"The Dog is an amusing, wry, pleasingly odd work of burnished prose and careful emotional spelunking driven by first-person voice and character and setting, which is Dubai. O'Neill gives [protagonist] X the verbal facility of a really smart lawyer and the self-awareness of a David Foster Wallace character. . . this verbosity is wonderfully light-footed and funny, and frequently poignant."--Ed Taylor, Buffalo News

This novel is often wonderfully droll, especially in its portrayal of the oddities of a city whose 'mission is to make itself indistinguishable from its airport.' Also, always amusing are the protagonist's mentally composed emails, never-to-be-sent missives in which he lists all of his grievances like an office-computer version of Saul Bellow's Herzog."--Keither Stasklewicz, Entertainment Weekly

“With consummate elegance, The Dog turns in on itself in imitation of the dreadful circling and futility of consciousness itself. Its subplots go nowhere, as in life. But, unlike life, its wit and brio keep us temporarily more alive than we usually allow ourselves to be.”––Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review
“An interesting moral complexity. . . makes [The Dog] more than a comic novel. The writing is brisk and funny, but O'Neill is also exploring deep questions about ethics and happiness in a globalized age of instant information and economic inequality. His narrator is a fascinating creation: charming and repugnant, selfless and self-absorbed, erudite and steeped in popular culture.”––Nick Romeo, The Chicago Tribune
“We’ve been waiting six years for a new book by Joseph O’Neill, after the spectacular Netherland, and it’s finally here. The Dog takes readers on a comical and philosophical journey to Dubai.”––Time Out New York
“A humorous meditation on the dialects of attention and distraction in the modern world, O’Neill’s work playfully skewers the global economy of consumption and our abstract notions of responsibility in its perpetuation.—Joshua Finnell, Library Journal (starred review)

“Shades of Kafka and Conrad permeate O’Neill’s thoughtful modern fable of exile, a sad story that comments darkly on the human condition and refuses bravely to trade on the success of Netherland.”––Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Pitch-perfect prose . . . Clever, witty, and profoundly insightful, this is a beautifully crafted narrative about a man undone by a soulless society.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

Praise for Netherland
“Stunning . . . with echoes of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s masterpiece . . . A resonant meditation on the American Dream.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Exquisitely written . . . A large fictional achievement, and one of the most remarkable post-colonial books I have ever read . . . Netherland has a deep human wisdom.” —James Wood, The New Yorker
“I devoured it in three thirsty gulps, gulps that satisfied a craving I didn’t know I had . . . It has more life inside it than ten very good novels.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
“Elegant . . . Always sensitive and intelligent, Netherland tells the fragmented story of a man in exile—from home, family, and, most poignantly, from himself.” —The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

JOSEPH O’NEILL is the author of the novels Netherland (which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award), This Is the Life, and The Breezes, and of a family history, Blood-Dark Track.  He lives in New York and teaches at Bard College.

Customer Reviews

Too bad a potentially good story was so badly presented.
Apparently this is supposed to pass as humor, but nothing about it is funny.
L. Young
I did not like the book at first because it was so difficult to read.
Peter Shermeta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Liat2768 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Dog reads like a Coen Brothers movie. Think 'Fargo' where people do hideous things and yet the viewer/reader ends up laughing at the most awful things.

If you approach this novel looking for a hero, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Our hero here unselfconsciously narrates a nakedly self centered tale of neurotic narcissism and there are moments here that have you laughing but it is very much AT him and not with him.

Dubai is as self conscious and consciously designed a metropolis as is possible. Surrounded by obscene wealth and luxury our narrator is an acerbic and astute observer of the hypocrisy of life in Dubai. Is it possible to like him? I don't think so. Can you believe every single thing he says? Probably not. In tone and style the book reminds me quite a bit of Glen Duncan's novel 'I, Lucifer'.

It is, in the end, unrelieved in its bitter darkness and pessimistic outlook on life. While entertaining it is a discomfiting read at times. How much of the superficiality in our contemptible narrator is present inside us as well?

If you keep all of that in mind this is a darkly humorous and extremely intelligent novel that is well worth the read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Chris Green on November 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This one's easy. Read the first couple of pages. If you like it, you're gonna like this book. If not, not. The whole thing is built on this extraordinary voice, and almost certainly, your tolerance/enjoyment of that voice is going to dictate your response.

Me, I freaking loved this book, start to finish. Call me a sucker for the style--dense & chewy. The voice is alive inside your head, in the best of the Irish lit tradition. And the character himself... what a creation. You couldn't ask for a better pair of eyes through which to see Dubai, even though the guy, on some important level, can't see what's directly in front of him. The story consistently takes left turns, with endlessly surprising turns of phrase and turns of plot, and the end, when it comes, is both horrifying and in the weirdest way, cosmically just. Every few pages, there'd be some crazy descriptive leap that had me smiling, often outright laughing. I love this guy's voice more than enough to make me feel bad for him; even as he consistently finds ways to lose my respect, he never loses my ultimate sympathy. I don't know if that's to O'Neill's credit or my discredit or what, but it sure is something.

I think this book is beautifully wrought, every bit as astute and funny as the best of the existentialist canon. Kafka, Beckett, Camus and the Coen Bros are all favorable comps and spiritual cousins, close ones.

It would be nice if the cover wasn't so damn ugly. But that really is the only thing I didn't like about this book.

It's not for everybody. But if it's for you, it's a gem. Best book I've read in a long time.
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Format: Hardcover
Irish author Joseph O’Neill was born in Cork, Ireland, lived in Mozambique as a toddler, in Turkey (his mother’s place of birth) till he reached school age, and in Iran, the Netherlands, and England (where he attended college and then practiced law for ten years), before moving to New York City, where he has lived for the past fifteen years. Perceptive and particularly attuned to cultural differences and their ironies as a result of his own upbringing, O’Neill writes a darkly comic novel set in Dubai, creating an unnamed narrator whose real first name, never mentioned because he hates it, begins with the letter X. A lawyer who for nine years lived with Jenn, a co-worker, X is now single, with almost no resources, emotional or financial.

The breakup, coming as it did when he and Jenn were in their mid-thirties, was toxic, leaving him with few funds, no apartment, no friends among their mutual acquaintances, and virtually no prospects for a better life. Through a fluke, Eddie Batros, an acquaintance of X from college, offers him a job working for his impossibly wealthy family, which now lives in Dubai, just before that country’s economic collapse in 2009. Treated like a dog and completely ignored for months, X is supposed to manage the family’s law firm, their legal affairs and assets, their investment and tax strategies, their international concierge services, the Batros Foundation in Africa, and the family’s accounts on the Isle of Man, where they keep their stash of personal wealth.

A third plot thread concerns Ted Wilson, a deep sea diver, like X himself, who has suddenly gone missing.
Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Larry VINE VOICE on August 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The unnamed narrator had a very bad breakup with his girlfriend in New York City. A very wealthy old friend of his gives him the opportunity to manage their family trust while living in Dubai. He seizes the opportunity to get away and, while there, struggles to maintain the trust. The book becomes more of a flow of consciousness with as he confronts life in Dubai while thinking and rationalizing about his past. Eventually the reader is given a very full account of the past relationship, which really wasn’t all that great to begin with. At times the novel is humorous and at times quite sad. This book is on the longlist for the Man Booker award. It is a worthwhile read- a literary story and not a rip roaring thriller.
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More About the Author

Joseph O'Neill was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1964 and grew up in Mozambique, South Africa, Iran, Turkey, and Holland. His previous works include the novels This is the Life and The Breezes and the non-fiction book Blood-Dark Track, a family history centered on the mysterious imprisonment of both his grandfathers during World War II, which was an NYT Notable Book. He writes regularly for The Atlantic. He lives with his family in New York City.

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