Book Review:”The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein Pt2

Interview: Garth Stein on The Art of Racing in the Rain
Q: What inspired you to tell the story from a dog’s point of view?

Garth Stein

A: Using a dog as a narrator has limitations and it has advantages. The limitations are that a dog cannot speak. A dog has no thumbs. A dog can’t communicate his thoughts except with gestures. Dogs are not allowed certain places. The advantages are that a dog has special access: people will say things in front of dogs because it is assumed that a dog doesn’t understand. Dogs are allowed to witness certain things because they aren’t people and have no judgment. I was able to work with this idea a lot in terms of giving the reader a unique viewpoint into the action of the book. Enzo goes off with Zoë, and while Denny, her father, doesn’t know what happens, we see through Enzo’s eyes and so we do know. In that sense, it was a lot of fun playing with this “fly on the wall” point of view. Especially since the “fly” in our case, is Enzo, who has very keen powers of observation.
Q: Is there any significance to the name Enzo?
A: Yes! Denny’s dog, Enzo, is named after Enzo Ferrari, who built one of the greatest car trademarks in the world. Ferrari automobiles are famous everywhere. And Ferrari is a dominant player in the world of Formula One racing.
But I have a funny story about how I arrived at Enzo’s name….
When I first started writing this novel, Enzo was not named Enzo. He was named Juan Pablo, after Juan Pablo Montoya, the race car driver. When my wife read the first few pages, she said that she loved what I was writing, but the name of the dog wasn’t quite right.
Q: “How about Enzo?” she asked.
A: We had two sons already, and were expecting our third. I had always wanted to name one of my boys Enzo. I thought it was the ultimate cool name: Enzo Stein. But my wife very much disagreed. “We have a lot of different nationalities in our combined backgrounds,” she reasoned. “Russian, German, Austrian, Tlingit Indian, Irish, English…but we have no Italian.”
“But then we won’t be able to name the baby Enzo,” I said.
“I thought of that,” she said, nodding slowly.
“I really wanted to name him Enzo,” I said. “Enzo, the dog, is your new baby,” she replied. “And when our new baby comes, we’ll find the right name for him.”
(For those of you who are interested: We named our son Dashiell.)

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel

Q: Are you a dog owner yourself?
A: Yes. Our dog, Comet, is a Lab/poodle mix. She’s goofy and silly and sweet Q: Do you think people will look at their own dogs differently after reading this book?
A: I hope so. Anyone who has a dog knows that they have some very deep thoughts, that they have moods and emotions, they get their feelings hurt. It’s not a far reach to give them opinions and values and long-term desires. More–>

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