The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Short Review of At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, by John Gimlette

This travel narrative and history of Paraguay is completely Unsafe for animal lovers. In fact, there is a lot of violence to people in it, too. Then again, that’s what you get with Paraguay. There were times when I wondered whether or not to stop reading altogether, but I stuck with it. Why? Despite the violence and some organizational issues I had with the book, Gimlette is an engaging narrator and there were some amusing moments. My favorite is in the first comment, below.


February 7, 2008 - Posted by | Book Reviews | , , , , ,


  1. In 1855, Madame Lynch, the Irish-born prostitute who would have seven children by her lover, Paraguay’s ruler, Don Francisco Lopez, decided to throw a party for the female gentry. These ladies included the wives of ambassadors and other dignitaries. Lynch’s party was to take place on a boat that was to travel upstream on the Rio Paraguay. A lavish spread was prepared, with Limoge china and elegant silver. One problem remained: the other ladies viewed Madame Lynch as nothing more than an Irish whore.

    So, after being snubbed by all of them and then shouldered away from the food, Lynch did the only thing any self-respecting Irish whore could have done: she ordered the servants to throw everything overboard. The food, the china, the silver, even the tables — it all got tossed into the river. And then the boat sat at anchor for 10 hours. There’s no report as to the temperature or whether the ladies had to stand outside in the blazing sun. I kind of hope they did!

    Anyway, that’s the best part of the book. If you want to read a good travel narrative and history of Paraguay, go for it. At least now you know that it is saturated with violence, with the occasional amusing anecdote.

    Comment by esheley | February 7, 2008 | Reply

  2. Overall it was a good book?

    Comment by Sean | February 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. It was well-written, but I’d only recommend it to those who are already interested in Paraguay for whatever reason.

    Comment by esheley | February 7, 2008 | Reply

  4. Probably yet another reason one of my dear friends got out of there when he could. He has been a U.S. citizen for about 10 years now, and some of the stories he has are pretty wild. Not a great place to live, it seems.

    Comment by Avienne | February 22, 2008 | Reply

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