Come and meet Enzo, Enzo the dog whose voice narrates the tale told in The Art of Racing in the Rain. After being introduced to readers around the world, the novel made it to the New York Times best seller list for 100 weeks with Enzo’s heart-wrenching story; it is his philosophical thoughts that captivate the readers. Enzo who seems more like a human than a dog tells a deeply moving but ultimately funny and uplifting story about family, hope, loyalty, along with love—in a way that is only possible with his given identity as a dog.
▲ The Art of Racing in the Rain. Provided by HarperCollins Publishers
“Gestures are all that I have.” The story begins with Enzo’s monologue and just through this sentence, people are able to notice that the narrator is the dog displayed on the cover. Garth Stein, the author of the novel, explained why he chose a dog as the storyteller in an interview. Having worked as a documentary filmmaker, Stein received a request from his friend to help with the distribution of a Mongolian film in the United States (U.S.). While reviewing the film, he found one of the beliefs of Mongolians interesting as an author. They believe that when a dog dies, it will be reborn in human form. Stein could discover some good material for writing a novel from his previous job. this has motivated him to lift his pen and start writing his renowned fiction.
The most unique feature of this book is that the whole story is told from a dog's point of view. One may point out that using an animal as a narrator is not unusual. However, it is still considered special in that animals have a lot more to say because they cannot talk or express their thoughts. Animals do have something that humans do not possess. For instance, Enzo notices before anyone else that his family member has a disease. He detects a bad odor, thereby realizing that there is something inside her head that does not belong there. In this regard, the scene where only Enzo knows what happens but cannot tell makes the read more worthwhile.
Meanwhile, the title leaves a long-lasting message for the readers. After reading a book, people usually think about why an author has titled the book in such a way. In the case of this novel, Stein indirectly implies his outlook on life, as well as that of Enzo, through a metaphor: a courage to walk out into the rain when it rains in one’s race of life. Raining in the race of life refers to the hardships and sufferings that one confronts in life. At times, people have to face the things that make life unmanageable and stressful. The novel conveys that if life is demanding to deal with, one must keep moving to be free from the burden of the circumstances. “That which you manifest is before you,” says Enzo—and this is the art of living.
The author discusses the joys and sorrows of life and illustrates the effort it takes to care for for the loved ones ones. With Enzo’s devotion to his family and his desire to please them, The Art of Racing in the Rain tugs at the reader’s heart. It shows people that no one is ever alone, even in the times of crisis and despair; moreover, it reminds people that love is not limited to creatures with two legs. In that sense, the book is recommended to those who want to cry, laugh and experience the pleasure of triumph over adversity. As Enzo says, no race has ever been won in its first corner; in fact, many races have been lost there.