The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart

A few months ago, I reorganized the basement, which meant moving all the books and deciding which ones warranted recycling to a charity. In the process, I also picked a few books to reread; Bridge of Birds was one of them. What I remembered about it was that it took place in China, involved a wise man and his sidekick, and made me laugh out loud.

It made me laugh out loud again on the second reading. This book is a delight.

It starts off slow and with a great deal of sorrow, for the children who live in an unnamed rural village have all fallen ill. Without a miracle, they will die in a matter of weeks. So Number Ten Ox, the narrator, sets off in search of someone who can help. In the city, he finds Master Li Kao, consistently described as a scholar with a slight flaw in his character. Li Kao determines that to save the children, they must find the Great Root of Power. He and Number Ten Ox take on this daunting quest, which is, essentially, the story.

And a lively and entertaining story it is! Li Kao and Ox encounter friends, enemies, and ghosts; suffer great poverty and enjoy preposterous wealth; and learn the true meaning of beauty and the beauty of truth, just to start. There are races through underground tunnels, sword dances, angry sages, invisible monsters, lava moats, and just about everything you can think of. It’s a trip — and of course I recommend this book.

As for animals, dogs howl for the village children, a helpful goat, endangered horses and mules, assorted livestock, a sad elephant who dies for a greater cause, and unharmed birds. So this book is MOSTLY SAFE for animal lovers. In fact, I think it’s SAFE except for the brief appearance of the elephant. Enjoy!

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October 15, 2009 - Posted by | beach book, Book Reviews | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Ooh, adding to my list.

    Comment by Pandionna | October 15, 2009 | Reply


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