04 January 2012

Red Dog ~ Louis de Bernieres


Just 'cause I love my dog doesn't mean I'll love a dog book!
A picaresque novel

A short read. And I am sure I read it in the Women's Weekly when it first came out .. and that is where it belongs.

If I were good old Louis I would be hanging my head in shame about the money that the book is likely to be making from the film version. I can only hope that the published anecdotes by Nancy Gillespie (Red Dog) and Beverly Duckett (Red Dog : the Pilbara Wanderer) that were used by de Bernieres get a bit of flow-on cash.

The statue and stories tweaked de Bernieres interest while travelling in the area so he followed up on it (using the above mentioned publications) and wrote his own, slightly fictionalised, version. This is a loose string of rather repetitive anecdotes glued together with a lightweight narrative and one dimensional characterisation.

This is not a serious read. It reads like a feature article in a tabloid magazine. Or great classroom reading for your struggling Year 7. It's nice enough but That's It ... underwhelming.

My gain from reading it was to find the term "Picaresque Narrative" in reviews of the book.

Picaresque : pertaining to, characteristic of, or characterized by a form of prose fiction, originally developed in Spain, in which the adventures of an engagingly roguish hero are described in a series of usually humorous or satiric episodes that often depict, in realistic detail, the everyday life of the common people: picaresque novel; picaresque hero.