The Dogs Of Littlefield, Suzanne Berne

The Dogs Of Littlefield opening line: No one was very surprised when the signs began appearing in Baldwin Park.

The Dogs Of Littlefield

My blurb:

This has to be one of the most frustrating books I have ever read. It is set in a little village somewhere in Massachusetts where there are more psychologists than necessary. And why this is so is never dealt with. The main character in this book is Margaret Downing who is experiencing problems in her marriage and decides to have an affair with a local author. The inhabitants of Littlefield are under scrutiny from Dr. Clarice Watkins who has decided to study this community, rather than deal with her unrequited love for a married man.

The Dogs Of Littlefield

Littlefield, Massachusetts: home to psychologists, college professors and their overachieving children, and recently lauded as one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America. If happiness had a home it would be here.Then the first dog is poisoned. At first, there is shock and disbelief: who would commit such a cruel act – and why? As more dogs die, residents notice other signs that something’s not right in their home: the appearance of menacing graffiti, the persistent triggering of fire alarms at the middle school and the haunted looks neighbours begin exchanging.For the Downings, Margaret, Bill and daughter Julia, Littlefield’s gathering darkness hints at flaws in their own lives. What is wrong? What can save them?’Well-observed shrewd satire . . . sharp, funny and painful. Berne takes the domestic and turns it into the majestic’ Sunday Telegraph

My verdict:

I expect a good novel to end with maybe one or two things left unsaid for my imagination to ponder. But in this book chapter and paragraphs end off with many things left unsaid, that are then never answered. I do not want to guess if the stones represent lost children, or if the dead dogs are a metaphor for possibilities lost. I would not recommend that you rush out and buy this book which is described on the back as being darkly comic.

Publishing information:
ISBN 9780241962664
Format Paperback
Published August 2014

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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22 thoughts on “The Dogs Of Littlefield, Suzanne Berne

      1. I’m sorry, Tandy, but I think you missed the point of this wonderful book entirely! It’s subtle, moving, deeply insightful and wonderfully evocative. Perhaps reading literature is not your thing. The point of great writing is not to provide easy answers or simple solutions – it is to stimulate our thinking and imagination. I was left wondering about the ending and I felt mildly frustrated, but happily so. Now I’ll think and re-read and figure out what I think – and that’s always the point.

        1. hi Susan. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and leave a comment. As reading is a subjective experience, I think my opinion is totally on point. And I disagree with your statement that reading is not my thing. I have a degree in English, and love to read. I respect your opinion of this book, and am grateful you shared it with my readers.

  1. It may be that the only thing more irksome than a loose thread is a whole mass of loose ends in one place! You said it so perfectly. I’m pretty sure this book would send me right to the brink, and am highly dubious that any of the overabundant psychologists in Littlefield would do anything to mitigate that condition. Thanks for the heads-up! 😉

  2. Urg, I hate it when a book sounds like a winner and then you start reading and realise it’s an absolute time waster. Even more, I hate it when the author writes in such a way that you find yourself getting frustrated with what he/she is trying to say. I stopped reading a book earlier this year because I felt stupid reading it. Like I couldn’t understand what the point the author was trying to make. Grateful for the honest review, I won’t go near this one!

    1. Thank you for the compliment Cheri! I would hate someone to buy a book I claimed was good and feel that they have wasted their money 🙂

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