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In short, accelerating chapters Parkhurst alternates between Paul's strange and passionate efforts to get Lorelei to communicate and his heartfelt memories of his whirlwind relationship with Lexy. The first 100 pages or so bring to mind another noteworthy debut, Alice Sebold's brilliant exploration of grief, The Lovely Bones. Unfortunately, the second half of The Dogs of Babel takes too many odd twists and turns--everything from a Ms. Cleo-like TV psychic to an underground sect of abusive canine linguists--to ever allow the reader to feel any real sympathy for the main characters. Parkhurst's Paul Iverson can certainly be appealing at times, and his heartbreak is often quite palpable ("...for every dark moment we shared between us, there was a moment of such brightness I almost could not bear to look at it head-on."). But his mask-maker wife Lexy--Paul's driving inspiration--is a character whose spur-of-the-moment outbursts, spontaneous fits of anger, and supposedly charming sense of whimsy (on their first date, they drive from Virginia to Disney World, eating only appetizers and side dishes along the way), become so annoying and grating that it's hard to believe anyone could ever put up with her, let alone teach their dog to speak for her.
Despite its cloying tone, The Dogs of Babel marks a notable debut. Parkhurst possesses a wealth of inspired ideas, and no doubt many readers will respond to the book, but one hopes that the author's future efforts will be packed with richer character development and less schmaltz. --Gisele Toueg
I really enjoyed this book, however I felt as though the weird subplot with the underground dog experiments was a bit unnecessary. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lauren Nicholson
Any reader of this book who did not cry his eyes out at the end of this story is some hard-hearted person! The plot was truly unusual and engaging, and the writing was charming..Published 4 months ago by Ellen Q. Suria
This rather strange book concerned with the sudden death of thirty-something, quirky Lexy and her husband’s subsequent almost desperate attempt to explain her death is not without... Read morePublished 4 months ago by J. Grattan
A book that you fall into, read faster than intended, and enjoyably reflect upon. Similar to "The Accidental Tourist" and "The Time-Traveler's Wife," this book will... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Meghan
One of the best books I've ever read. Those in grief will relate.Published 6 months ago by Ann H. McRae
Very moving, very funny and truly unique plot line. I think this is a story about processing grief in one's own manner, but it is neither heavy handed nor maudlin.Published 9 months ago by Sophie Tallis
I read this book after seeing the author in an interview shortly after its release...It breaks many of the "rules" of modern literature. Read morePublished 9 months ago by chefdana
Enjoyed the suspense although sad. I would recommend this book to friends. I don't agree with testing on animals in the name of science.Published 10 months ago by Audrey