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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
Too many books...too little time....forget this one. This book needs a plot. It would not make it as a short story.Published 22 days ago by Kathleen A.
I thought that the characters in this novel were very plausible. There was also authenticity in the author's portrayal of how characteristics that charm early in a relationship... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Savvy Consumer
This is a very difficult novel to read and sad sad sad. Almost gave up but because I pride myself on reading what a start... I did.Published 5 months ago by Tobylu
The story line was weak. I kept waiting for the climax and to figure out what happened to his wife, but the answers came so quietly, it was very boring.Published 5 months ago by Lisa M Yount
Interesting to focus on teaching a dog to talk. There's a mix of sadness and hope. very original and close to ordinary lives.Published 5 months ago by Erica_W
I really enjoyed the book - it was an eye opener to the world of mental illness. I was torn between wanting to dislike Lexy for her irrational behavior and empathizing with her... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Traci A.
This book starts with a death and the husband's reaction, handling grief and growing emotionally. Challenging section about abusing dogs.Published 7 months ago by Nanjo
This condition of this book should have been listed as used. You can tell it has been used and someone read it as the front cover is bent back. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cathy
Writing was good.... Story was pretty silly.
Not a fan of dog torture ....even for the sake of a story line.