Single, childless, J.T. Rosen—a poet and college professor who has failed to live up to her early promise—has constructed a careful, orderly life around her work and the little house she has lived in alone for many years. Long ago, after a tumultuous youth filled with the “Sturm und Drang of boys and men,” she gave up on the possibility of love; she has begun by now, in the Middle Western town she cannot bring herself to think of as home, to give up on the possibility of friendship.
When the dog enters her life, almost by accident he takes over her life, as puppies do.
But as the days and weeks pass, the relationship that unfolds between dog and woman provides a glimpse for her of the possibilities that life still offers, of goodness that she begins to understand can be “counted on” in some inexplicable way.
Dog [excerpt] is about how a person constructs a life for herself, about the bits and pieces that make up a life as one goes along, and about the possibility of goodness, always, among those pieces—the possibility of love, and grace.
“Phil the dog is one of the most admirable and engaging male characters you are likely to encounter between the pages of a book this year. His relations with the woman who has the good fortune to share his life are handled with exemplary insight, delicacy, and humor.”