Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
“Your car goes where your eyes go. Simply another way of saying that which you manifest is before you. I know it’s true; racing doesn’t lie.”
Amazing. Books like this are why we should ration our five-star ratings, so that they mean something. You need not love either dogs or racing to love this book; breathing suffices. (The movie is tighter and brighter than the book, but read the book first.)
“We had come so close to greatness. We had smelled it, and it smelled like roast pig.”
Told from the dog’s point of view, Stein both embraces and supersedes the obvious limitations. Excellent characterization and sensory tags. The reader feels what Enzo feels, and it tastes like roast pig.
“The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles—preferably of his own making—in order to triumph. A hero without a flaw is of no interest to an audience or to the universe.”
Enzo has flaws, but most aren’t his doing. What happened to the stuffed zebra and the squirrel may have been his fault, but mostly he was doing the best he could without having thumbs or speaking.
“Somewhere, the zebra is dancing.”
Reading this book, I recalled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Though they overlap in ways that are impossible to explain, this is so much better. Simultaneously more entertaining and more thought provoking. (Tempted to lower that book’s rating to four stars.)
“I am a racer at heart, and a racer will never let something that has already happened affect what is happening now.”
Next time I want to be Enzo. (Take your pick.)
“What I want now is what I’ve always wanted. One more lap, Denny! One more lap! Faster!”