Saturday 6 August 2016

The Dog, Ray

The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin (Allen & Unwin)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN: 9781471403200

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Here is a unique concept, wrapped in a well-constructed storyline that drags the reader in from the first sentence and holds their interest till the last word.  I read it in one sitting without a break. Its themes include grief and loss, friendship and family.

The story is heard initially through the voice of Misty, a new born dog, who inherits the recycled soul of Daisy, a girl who has just died in an accident. Misty is later renamed Ray by Pip, the boy who finds and keeps her.

Several main stories and sub-stories exist. The main one is Daisy’s voice that comes through Ray. It is full of humour, but also carries an element of sadness for the irretrievable loss of her parents. We share all her thoughts as she tries to communicate them to Pip, but of course can’t.

Pip’s mother has died and he sets out to find his father with just a name and a photo, and Ray. His journey is poignant and moving.

Jack, a minor character, draws attention to the plight of the homeless and their vulnerability. Other small but significant entrances and exits are made by other minor characters as well which extend the backstory.

Linda Coggin has created a highly inventive novel of quality. With characters that are interesting, dialogue sizzles, and important themes, this is a book not to be missed.

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