A much loved book: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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Every year at the start of the F1 season, I smile to myself and take a minute to pay tribute to Enzo.

Suspend belief and be introduced to the teller of the tale of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Enzo is a mixed breed dog, his mother was a labrador and he thinks his father was an Airedale terrier, stay with me here……..this is the last day of his life and he’s waiting for his beloved owner Denny Swift to come home.

He has been part of Denny’s life since he was a puppy and they have spent the best times together watching TV and videos on F1 because Denny is a racing driver. According to Enzo the 1993 Grand Prix is, “the greatest automobile race of all time in which Ayrton Senna proved himself to be a genius in the rain”, and therein lies the narrative to his life with Denny. He truly believes that by applying the techniques of driving on the racetrack to real life, is the secret to achieving our life’s dream. Now, other than the Grand Prix his next favourite thing on TV was a programme about Mongolia that explained, that when the life of a dog is coming to its earthly close his next incarnation will be as a man.

I am not losing my marbles in wanting you to read this because I truly think that it’s worth spending some time with Enzo and Denny. The love and companionship between dog and man has been written about by far worthier people than myself, but this as the young people say is “off the scale”. It’s not an allegorical screed on the meaning of life but a very funny, charming and desperately sad description of a family that are torn apart because of the death of Denny’s wife. Although Enzo cannot speak, his understanding of their suffering and his empathy (I know he’s a dog) makes you believe that some good can come out of despair.

If you Google reviews of this from when it was published in 2009 (and why wouldn’t you) this is a Marmite book, you either love it or hate it. But if you love it please share it with your friends – if you hate it then sorry people, you ‘aint got soul!

As a postscript it is sad that Enzo was not able to see the stunning documentary about Senna from 2011 but perhaps he did?

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The Art of Racing in the Rain is available in paperback on Hive here

Click here for the eBook edition of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Recommended viewing: Senna on DVD and Blu-ray

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This book was chosen from the bookshelf of Hive’s legendary book guru

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