The Girl with the Dogs
by Anna Funder
Reviewed by Chris Saliba –
(Penguin, RRP: $9.99)
Tess and Dan are an affluent middle-class couple with three children: 13-year-old Charlotte and the six-year-old twins, Tom and Lorna. Tess and Dan’s marriage is a dependable one, but after so many years it has become, if not stale, at least routine. For Tess, life might be secure, but it is also missing that spark. She starts to wonder whether some better, more thrilling romantic life might be hers if she could only reach for it. An opportunity presents itself when Tess travels to London for a work conference. The memory of an old flame is rekindled and she plots a clandestine meeting with Mitya, a Russian artist who happens to be having an exhibition in Paris. Is she out of her mind, she wonders, or is this meant to be?
The Girl with the Dogs is about the life we imagine we could be leading, as opposed to the reality we have made for ourselves. With admirable economy, Anna Funder shows the tension between fantasy and reality in successful yet uneventful middle-class lives. This is a novella firmly grounded in reality and experience, giving the story an authenticity and poignancy.
Chris Saliba is co-owner of North Melbourne Books and a regular contributor to the News. North Melbourne Books is located at 546 Queensberry Street.
From North & West Melbourne News Issue 170 September 2015 – Arts & Entertainment – Book Reviews