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Carmen Dog Hardcover – March, 1990

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Emshwiller ( Verging on the Pertinent ) stretches a conceit past the breaking point in this uneven allegory. Women are degenerating into various animals, and female animals are acquiring human characteristics. The men are puzzled, but don't much mindg ; animals, they realize, are ideal companions ("Relationships and responsibilities were less confining. After all, they merely involved dumb animals who were not worth consideration, politeness, time, effort, gifts"). Her fantastic premise allows Emshwiller canny and frequently hilarious insights into the damaging sex-role stereotypes both men and women perpetuate (a dog's visit to a psychologist is a highlight). But she juggles too many genres here--the g plot turns on mad scientists, academic conspiracies, formula romances--without sustaining the reader's interest in the central story of human/animal metamorphoses. Eventually the g social critique is swallowed by increasingly silly scenarios.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A rollicking outre satire.... full of comic leaps and absurdist genius." -- Bitch Magazine

"An inspired feminist fable.... A wise and funny book." -- The New York Times

"Combines the cruel humor of Candide with the allegorical panache of Animal Farm." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Pure essence of Emshwiller." -- Connie Willis, author of Passage

"The most unappreciated great writer we've got.... Ought to be a classic in the colleges by now ." -- Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Changing Planes --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Mercury House (March 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0916515702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0916515706
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,315,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
"Women are turning into animals, and animals are turning into women..." What a way to start off a book. Pooch, a dog-girl who longs to play the title role in "Carmen," absconds with a baby whose mother is becoming a turtle. Along the way, she meets many other intriguing characters, among them a snake-woman and a vicious socialite who is quickly becoming what her personality most resembles (namely, a wolverine). And in the meanwhile, the world as we know it is turnig upside-down.
This book was funny; however, the way that it poked fun at gender roles and modern-day society went much deeper than mere humor.
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The basic story of this book is very simple: women are turning into animals and some female animals are turning into women. This, of course, puts society into a bit of chaos. So in order to control this chaos some male doctors establish an "Academy of Mothers" to insure that the female humans, whether they always were human or not, continue to reproduce.

The main character is Pooch, a golden setter, who becomes a young woman. Pooch's mistress at the same time is turning into a snapping turtle and when she bites the baby, Pooch takes over raising the child. After a little bit she leaves the family home, where she continues to sleep on a doormat, and takes the child with her. At first she winds up at the pound with some very interesting characters and the baby is left in her care. Then she winds up as an experiment in a lab run by a cold and calculating doctor and assisted by his half-transformed wife, Rosemary. Rosemary will play an even bigger part in the book later on.

Carmen Dog is a very funny and insightful book and don't worry nothing too terribly awful happens to any of the characters unless becoming a snapping turtle sounds horrible. The author shows us how societal roles can inhibit people, women and men alike. This is a funny feminist satire of gender roles, animal/human relationships, and social institutions.

I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
Women are turning into animals, and some animals are turning into women. Men fuss about what sort of status should be given to the new "humans", and doctors and psychologists are concerned with the prospect of a "takeover" of power and what this will all do to the institution of Motherhood, not to mention a man's privileges and rights. A thought-provoking, witty examination of the women's movement and society's reactions to it, this is a fun book to read that gives one a real feel for what it was like to live through the changes in women's roles in the 60's and 70's.
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