The Art of Racing in the Rain
By Garth Stein
Here is a story narrated by a dog named Enzo, a smart canine, who shows up “Marley” for the bad dog that he was. Enzo was sold as a cross between a poodle and a shepherd, but he doesn’t believe that. He feels he’s part Terrier, because he remembers a stalwart no-nonsense Terrier on the farm where he was born. He believes he carries those determined problem solver genes.
Enzo was picked out of a litter and has spent his whole life with Denny Swift, a race car driver. Denny Swift is more than owner, more than best friend, he is a mentor to Enzo (and just slightly below a god). Because of his job, Denny spends time away, so he introduced his dog to television. He started him on racing videos, and progressed to Discovery Channel. Denny warned him about “too much TV” but Enzo is hooked. Once he watched a National Geographic Documentary about Mongolia which reported that after this life on all fours, a dog will be reborn as a man. Enzo can hardly wait to have a tongue that is not too long and unmanageable for language, and fingers that can grip and hold things. Before rebirth though, just at the end, his soul will be released for one final romp through green pastures. He now has no fear of dying.
There is little that Enzo does not know about race car driving. Speed, corners, wet track, Danny has discussed it with him. It’s the mental drive that Enzo is most taken with. “That which we manifest is before us; we are creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance our success and our failures are brought on by ourselves.”
Denny meets a wonderful girl named Eve, and she likes Enzo too. The house if full of love and racing and dog dreams. Enzo is there underfoot for the whole courtship. Dogs become part of the furniture at such a time, and this is a well-behaved dog, who knows when to observe and when to listen.
Soon a little girl named Zoe joins the family, everyone loves her and its all good, but time is passing and Enzo is getting old. The hips are a bit stiff, the romps and ball chasing are a bit less energetic, and life is getting complicated with Denny and Eve and Zoe.
Racing takes Denny away from Eve and Zoe for long periods of time. Enzo knows that Eve is not well. There is nothing he can do or say, he is just a dog, and he behaves badly under stress..
As storm clouds gather over this little loving group, it seems as though Denny will lose everyone he loves in this “race in the rain.” The racing world and a bad conscience change the outcome for the best, and Enzo can fulfill his biggest dream.
A sweet read for dog lovers.
Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.