Afterglow (a dog memoir)

Grove. Sept. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9780802127099. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802188786. MEMOIR
OrangeReviewStarMyles—poet, novelist, feminist presidential candidate, professor, librettist, nonfiction writer, inspiration for the lesbian poet character Leslie Mackinaw on the show Transparent, and Guggenheim fellow—has written a love letter to her beloved pit bull Rosie. Myles's phantasmagoric account of her 16 years with Rosie—and many years without her—includes not only a sorrowful retelling of decline and illness but also a recital of the facts of Rosie's first mating, in the nerve-wracking chapter "The Rape of Rosie," as well as various imaginings of Rosie's thoughts (not to mention her remarks as a talk show guest). Myles wanders through complicated family relationships, a history of alcoholism, and her credo of writing on her way to delivering a singular portrait of Rosie. Readers in search of an anodyne for their grief will find it buried deep in the midst of her swirling prose.
VERDICT Myles succeeds here in producing a rare new breed of dog memoir: think Patti Smith's Just Kids, not John Grogan's Marley and Me, absinthe not saccharine. [See Prepub Alert, 5/3/17.]
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