Racing in the Rain…


Monday afternoon, Diana and I took the dogs with us downtown so she could get art supplies at Art Media – a great art supply store here in Portland. On the way, she left her car at her mechanic’s shop for an oil change and headlight replacement. After the art store, we went around the block to Powell’s Books – a Portland institution since 1971 – for a late lunch in their café.

As we walked through the store, Diana’s eye was caught by The Art of Racing in the Rain – a novel by Garth Stein that I read and posted about many months ago (re-visit that post by clicking here). Over lunch in the café, I gave her a synopsis of the book, its canine narrator, Enzo, and told her how much I loved it. On the way out, after reading the first few lines to her, I bought it for her as a gift.

When we returned home, after stopping for groceries at her co-op, and a DVD of Being John Malkovich (which she’s never seen!), she started reading the book. The dogs were fed, we had beer and snacks, and we all settled in for a cozy evening by the fire…

Max appreciates the warmth of the fireplace on a cold rainy night. Isn’t that beautiful stonework?

Every so often, Diana would exclaim or laugh and we would discuss where she was in the book. If you haven’t read this book, I cannot recommend it enough! It’s beautifully written, a touching, compassionate story of a life shared by this wise dog and his owner, Denny, a race car driver. Enzo is one enlightened dog, with a good sense of humor, a sharp wit, and deep insights into life and death.

This quote from Enzo says a lot about his philosophy:
“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.

I learned that from a program on the National Geographic channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.

I am ready.”

When Max and I went upstairs to bed, I told Diana that I thought she’d finish the book before she went to bed. This morning, she greeted me with a hug, and said, “You were right! I finished it last night…”

Who’s next? If you haven’t done so already, go out and buy a copy, or ask for it at your library, but whatever you do – read it! You’ll be glad you did…

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in Books to read, Current reading list, Eating out on a road trip, Friends along the way, Musings, On the Road, Oregon, Portland, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Racing in the Rain…

  1. katyallgeyer says:

    Oh yeah! I kindled it on your recommendation awhile back and loved it. I might even read it again…btw, is that an antique Chinese Nichols rug Max is lying on?!

  2. Maureen Farr says:

    I’m thinking of re-reading it too! I’ll ask about the rug and let you know.

  3. I couldn’t agree more–Enzo is the best dog ever and the art of racing in the rain moved me to tears and beyond many times. Brilliant!

  4. Ellie Adams says:

    I loved Racing in the Rain as well! (and cried!) Portland seems to be a good destination for your journey and a great place to be with your friend! How nice!!!

  5. Maureen Farr says:

    Ellie, Portland has been a great resting stop – even with all the rain! Everything is lush and green. Max and I took a walk this morning and I’ve got a bunch of photos I’m planning to post later.

  6. Maureen Farr says:

    Cindy! I’m glad Max can’t read. I thought HE was the best dog ever! I’m not telling him you said that…

  7. Well, it’s possible if I could read his mind and see if he was quite as thoughtful and introspective a dog as Enzo was, then I might change my mind, but until that happy (or frightening) moment occurs, I reserve my judgment and remain with the former assessment of the doggie-awesomeness factor. . . 😉

  8. Maureen Farr says:

    Max says “F-F-F-T!!” to you Cindy… you have not talked with me since I celebrated my first year on this planet. what do YOU know?

  9. Maureen Farr says:

    you mock and laugh at my expense. I wash my butt of you!

  10. Max, you are TOO funny, but you are still not impressing me as an Enzo type. . . 😉

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