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The Art of Racing in the Rain [Kindle Edition]

Garth Stein
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5,329 customer reviews)

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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, Stein's third novel offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift as he pursues success on the track and off. Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoë, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. Enzo is a reliable companion and a likable enough narrator, though the string of Denny's bad luck stories strains believability. Much like Denny, however, Stein is able to salvage some dignity from the over-the-top drama. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The perfect book for anyone who knows that some of our best friends walk beside us on four legs; that compassion isn’t only for humans; and that the relationship between two souls...meant for each other never really comes to an end.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 598 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0017SWPXY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,265 of 1,317 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I have finally found a new novel I can stand to read.

To my great astonishment, it's told by a dog. (I'm not a pet-lover).

It contains many insights about car racing. (I have no interest in car racing, and I look askance at sports analogies.)

And the author has described it as "Jonathan Livingston Seagull' for dogs." (That book is tied with 'The Giving Tree' as my Least Favorite Ever.)

So what do I find to praise?

The concept: "When a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man." Not all dogs. Only those who are ready. Enzo, a shepherd-poodle-terrier mix, is ready.

Enzo has spent years watching daytime TV, mostly documentaries and the Weather Channel (It's "not about weather, it is about the world"). And because Denny Swift, his owner, is a mechanic who's training to race cars, he and Enzo watch countless hours of race footage. So Enzo knows about the world beyond the Swift home near Seattle.

The situation is equally appealing: Enzo is old, facing death. While he has learned from racing movies to forget the past and live in the moment, this is his time to remember. And he can remember objectively --- as a dog, his senses are sharper, his emotions less complicated. With the clarity of a Buddha, Enzo can see. And he can listen: "I never interrupt, I never deflect the conversation with a comment of my own." So he's quite the knowing narrator.

And then the story: a happy family, brimming with good feeling and ambitious dreams. Denny loves Enzo like a son. Denny loves his wife Eve, who works for a big retail company that "provided us with money and health insurance." And Denny lives for Zoe, their daughter.
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426 of 446 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! June 15, 2008
A Kid's Review
Format:Hardcover
Since I am a young teenager, you might think it doesn't mean much for me to say that this is the best book ever. But I've read a pretty good amount of books for someone my age. When I read this book, I felt a connection with it that I haven't felt with any other book. It made me feel the pain, the happiness, the sadness, and the humor in the characters lives. I cried at two points in the book because of the way the author was able describe it. It wasn't that it was sad, it was just that it was told in such a beautiful and truthful way. Obviously, you might say that a dog could not think like a human, so how could it be truthful. But this book is not about what real dogs think. It's about spiritual and emotional truths. Doesn't anyone remember Charlotte's Web? Enzo says, "My intent, here, is to tell our story in a dramatically truthful way. While the facts may be less than accurate, please understand that the emotion is true. The intent is true. And, dramatically speaking, intention is everything."

Because I'm 12, I did have to discuss the book with my parents. I needed to ask questions about the custody battle and Eve's sickness. I recommend this book to anyone who is open to the ideas of creating your own life and not being a victim. Anyone who thinks this book has anything to do with bad luck (I've seen some of the reviews) is really missing the message. There is nothing random. As Enzo says, we are all extensions of everything. Where you focus your energy is what happens in your life. What happens in the end is what has to happen. It is the only true ending that fits the whole buildup of where Denny and Enzo placed their energy.
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373 of 396 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dog's eye view of humanity May 18, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I might secretly be a dog person, or maybe subconsciously ... but if you were to ask me I would tell you I'm not a dog person. Oh, but how I loved Enzo.

On the eve of his death, Enzo (a dog) tells what amounts to his master's life story. Stein's attention to detail was amazing - the book read like it was written by somebody who took the time to stop and think "what would a dog feel/do in this situation?" As a result, Enzo is memorable and lovable. He's at once a crotchety old man, and an innocent youth. He's wise, he's naive, and he is devoted.

I'm not going to lie to you, this book is very sad. But it is also laugh out loud funny at times, and filled with love, devotion, philosophy and hopefulness.

It's a beautiful book and definitely one of my favorites of the year.
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411 of 454 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, Sentimental Story June 7, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, a book that reminds me of the work of Mitch Albom or Nicholas Sparks. This is essentially the story of one man's life struggle, as seen from the perspective of the family dog. The dog, named Enzo, is as intelligent as a human being, and pretty much thinks like one. Most of the humor of the book comes from Enzo's unhappiness with his dog status, and his intense desire to be a human in the next life.

The actual plot of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, however, revolves around Enzo's master Denny, who suffers a series of family tragedies. I personally found Denny's story a bit on the melodramatic side (nothing about this book is particularly subtle), but Enzo's presence makes this novel more original and fresh than it otherwise would be. The ending of this book struck me as a bit too Hollywood, but parts of this book are emotionally touching.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is easy to read, and you can finish it in one sitting. There's quite a bit of crude humor in this novel, but I think most people will enjoy it. If you think Mitch Albom and Nicholas Sparks are pure schmaltz, you will no doubt think the same thing about this novel. But if you like short, sentimental stories, I think this book is definitely worth your time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tear-jerker, but a Great Book
I read this book several years ago, and loved it. However, I first began to read it within maybe a month of losing a dog I had for a little over 15 years, and as a result, I had... Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Dandomer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well done! The story is unique as are the characters. I thought the writing well done.
Published 8 hours ago by Marie Colette Cousy
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book!
A book I will always remember, recommend, and give as gifts.
Published 11 hours ago by jstjoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story!
Published 22 hours ago by Reid L.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I enjoyed the book. I thought it was an interesting idea to have the lives of everyone as seen through the eyes of the dog. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Larry Pavey
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!
I really enjoyed this book! Great seller! Fast shipping!
Published 3 days ago by Stephanylyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read!
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
You don't have to be a dog lover to like this book, but being a dog person and a race car aficionado, I thoroughly enjoyed this read on a flight from San Diego to Malaysia. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
This dog made me laugh and he made me cry. Loved this book! I see my dog with different eyes now :)
Published 4 days ago by mariangeli arroyo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful story. One of the novels I am keeping and will read again and again.
Published 4 days ago by Sibyl Iris
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More About the Author

Garth Stein is the author of four novels: the New York Times bestselling gothic/historical/coming-of-age/ghost story, "A Sudden Light;" the internationally bestselling "The Art of Racing in the Rain;" the PNBA Book Award winner, "How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets;" and the magically realistic "Raven Stole the Moon." He is also the author of the stage play, "Brother Jones." He has a dog, he's raced a few cars, climbed a bunch of really tall trees, made a few documentary films, and he lives in Seattle with his family. He's co-founder of Seattle7Writers.org, a non-profit collective of 74 Northwest authors working together to energize the reading and writing public.

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