Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Conversation with My Dog Whilst Raking / J. Mudcat Miller

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Literary Fiction/Humor

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: NO Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


The nom de plume for a longtime newspaper editor, J. Mudcat Miller has two other works, The Spaces (available for Kindle owners) and The Beekeeper (for those with a Nook).


From Amazon:

“During a late-career sabbatical, a journalist begins having thoughts filled with wisdom and knowledge. Since both of those qualities are well beyond his scope at this muddled point in his life, he believes the thoughts are coming from his dog, Elmo. The two then embark on a series of capers, investigating neighborhood mysteries while discussing topics including dogs, cats, sex, evolution, reincarnation and puddles.”


I’ve heard several definitions of literary fiction, which is one of the harder genres (or non-genres) to nail down. I saw one person describe it as a book where nothing happens except depressing characters get in depressing situations. I had to laugh because there seemed to be at least a smidgeon of truth to that definition. So when I received this book, which the author described as being in the “the literary/humor realm,” I wondered what I would find.

It turned out to be as advertised. It is literary, if you see that as indicating a combination of a certain writing style (one of those “know it when you see it” things). If you see literary as an indication that the subject matter touched upon will be at least a touch intellectual, maybe asking the big questions about why we are here or being philosophical, that’s covered too. The premise almost guarantees a few laughs. I found it funny, eliciting smiles, chuckles, and a few outright guffaws while I was reading. It turns out there is a reason for all this discussion between our protagonist and his dog, Elmo. You might benefit from the discussions, too.


Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues. My review copy was delivered as a MS Word document, so I am unable to evaluate formatting.

Rating: **** Four stars


Joansz said...

Maybe the best definition of "literary" is a book of no specific genre that stands the test of time. I'm, of course, thinking of authors like Mark Twain when it comes to a work that's both humorous and literary.

Love your reviews, because they give me a reason to want to at least sample the book. Off to sample "Conversation."

BooksAndPals said...

I like that definition, Joan. I think literary fiction and contemporary fiction are both kind of a catchall for non-genre fiction. The non-genre, genre. :)

One problem is, for a contemporary book, we don't know whether it will stand the test of time. Mark Twain, obviously has, and his works prove several good examples of humorous literary fiction.

I appreciate your comments. My "style" is to often work out my thoughts on paper (virtual, in this case) and your comments always make me think and often rethink what I've concluded.

Unknown said...

Review much appreciated, Big Al. And Joansz, I'm hoping you think Conversation might stand that test.