Wild Dogs: A Novel

Wild Dogs - Helen Humphreys This is a short novel, made even more short by the structure in which the is story retold through each character's point of view. The first half of the book is the story told through Alice, who we come to see as the main character. Then, for the second half of the book, bits of the story are retold through the rest of the characters, and then in Part 3 we come back to Alice. Some details are added, but really the plot is over at page 86.I didn't like this structure at all. I think the other characters' perspectives and histories should have been integrated into the main story, which would have made the book richer and maybe help it seem to last longer. The second half of the book did not enhance or change the reader's understanding of the first half of the book. Alice doesn't give us enough information about them in the first half to make us care what had been happening to them once the plot has played out.Clearly Humphreys is trying to making a point about how risky it is to love, since we love beings who might get up and walk out of our lives at any moment. I guess that's true, but after reading the book I didn't feel that the novel had anything more to say than its last two lines:The heart is a wild and fugitive creature.The heart is a dog who comes home.I wouldn't recommend reading the rest of the novel. The prose was nice but not special. It certainly does not "...strip away the conventions of love and passion to reveal deeper, richer truths," as the dust jacket description promised. Given the gushy reviews by readers at Amazon, I was deeply disappointed.Read instead: If you really want "A beautiful evocation of love and loss...Subtle and deeply affecting...Rich and satisfying" (as Carmela Ciuraru of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune apparently described this book), read The Year of Magical Thinking. Or even better, The Handmaid's Tale.