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BOOK REVIEW: The Color of a Dog Running Away by Richard Gwyn


One afternoon Lucas arrives at his apartment in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter to find a mysterious invitation slipped under his door. Written in green ink on a Joan Miró postcard, the note simply states “20-May-11:00”. Guessing that the message is intended to draw him to the Miró Foundation, Lucas arrives at the appointed time and meets Nuria with whom he begins a passionate love affair.

Consumed by the new relationship, Lucas discounts his feeling of being watched until the night he meets “the roof people,” who have been instructed to make contact with him. A short while later, Lucas and Nuria are kidnapped by a religious cult who believe they are reincarnated Cathars from the thirteenth century. While Lucas resists the efforts of the group’s leader Pontneuf, Nuria appears open to the idea. Suddenly Lucas begins to doubt Nuria’s affection and wonder if she is complicit in the scheme.

As the narrator states in the prologue, “the color of a dog running away” is “an idiom referring to something of an indeterminate or vague and shadowy appearance, perhaps suggesting a fugitive reality.” In The Color of a Dog Running Away, Richard Gwyn’s first novel, the narrator relates a surreal tale that is at times chaotic, confusing and beguiling.

Lucas views his relationship with Nuria as a new beginning, “a path free of the dead-ends and fruitless affairs to date” yet the hints in the prologue suggest that readers should view everything in The Color of a Dog Running Away as transitory, including this powerful new relationship. In a novel full of symbolic dead ends, dangers, catastrophes and stagnation, the reader is left to wonder whether the tale is one that haunts the narrator or if this is an allegorical novel constructed to lead to spiritual awakening and rebirth for both Lucas and the reader. Either way, this is a story that will remain with you long after the final world is read, leaving you “touched by a sense of grief and loss for a life not lived, a path not chosen.”

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 0307276872
ISBN13: 9780307276872

Trade Paperback
320 Pages
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: March 11, 2008


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