The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Been Here a Thousand Years, by Mariolina Venezia

This brilliant book, written beautifully by Mariolina Venezia and translated at least as well by Marina Harss, may be the best book I’m not going to recommend based on the animal issues. That is a big part of this blog — the reason for its existence, in fact — and I can’t ignore it. I so wish it hadn’t been an issue.

Been Here has been compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ masterpiece, 100 Years of Solitude. The comparison is apt. Both are family sagas, both have an element of magic and charm. I almost prefer Been Here, which features the women more and which is both gentler and more coherent. This is the story of the Falcone family, stretching from the mid-1800s to 1989, and the tiny southern Italian town of Grottole. Many characters pack the tale, but I never felt as if it was hard to keep up or remember who was whom.

Now … the main purpose of this blog is to provide book reviews for animal lovers. Part of that involves warning potential readers about scenes that may be upsetting because of what happens to the animals. On that basis, this book is COMPLETELY UNSAFE for animal lovers. It’s not that the animal violence permeates the book, but where it happens, it’s bad. Bird lovers are never going to be able to read it. But the scene that really upset me and stayed with me for days involves a pet pig. If you are going to read the book anyway, I suggest skipping pages 115 to 119. It was awful. I read the rest of the book wondering if there was going to be more of that.

I don’t know if I’ll read anything else Venezia writes. Aside from the animal issues, it was a good book. But I was bothered by some of the scenes for days.

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October 14, 2010 - Posted by | animals, birds, Book Reviews, families, translation | , , ,

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