The dog by

When does something begin? It doesn’t begin. There’s always something else before it. It begins the way a stream starts as a rivulet and a rivulet starts as a trickle if water in the marsh. It’s the rain that made the marsh water rise.
–Kerstin Ekman - The Dog - c1986 (trans Linda Schenk & Rochelle Wright, 2009), pg. 1

One day, in the depths of a Swedish winter, a little grey puppy gets lost in the woods. He had followed his mother as she followed the snow ski, but he couldn’t keep up. The owners searched for him. But they didn’t find him, and gave up, believing that he couldn’t have survived a night in the snow.

But he did. And although it was touch and go he survived the winter too.

This is the story of his life by himself and how he finally found his way home. I know, that could be a spoiler, but I know there are plenty of people who won’t read an animal book if they think it’ll end badly for the poor dog. So now you can feel safe and pick this one up.

Not that it is easy for the puppy of course. He must learn how to fend for himself. How to keep the fox neighbours from stealing his food. And he, in the course of surviving, picks up knocks and injuries.

It is a short book. Less than a hundred and fifty pages, and supposedly a classic in Sweden. I’m not Swedish, so I can’t comment on that.

But it is a lovely little story that is well worth reading. And for those of you who might be worried that it is overly sentimental, it isn’t. And there is no animal-thoughts, apart from the narrator telling the reader that the puppy felt hungry or angry, or what have you.

It certainly isn’t one I’d recommend to everyone, but at the same time I think that if you gave it a chance, anyone could enjoy it.

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4 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    Hi Fence! I’ve been entranced by Alle Things Scandinavian for quite awhile now, so I’ll give this a shot. I have to admit It’ll be strange reading a Swedish novel that doesn’t feature a brooding detective and at least one ghastly murder, though. :)

    • fence says:

      You know I’ve never actualy read *any* of those Scandinavian crime/murder mysteries. I probably should at some point :)

      This is a lovely little story. Nothing much happens, and the middle is maybe a tad repetitive, but I thought it was well worth the read.

  2. Kelly says:

    When you’re ready, a good jumping off point might be the Wallander series by Henning Mankell, and then you could watch the incredible Swedish series based on the books! I’m begging you not to start with the Kenneth Branagh version. :)