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Inspiring,
Insightful,
Beautiful

130 reviews

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein

Published: 2009-01-01
Paperback : 321 pages
188 members reading this now
4 clubs reading this now
164 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 121 of 130 members
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Introduction

Book by Garth Stein

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature. And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do in order to communicate clearly and effectively. In order to make my point understood without question. I have no words I can rely on because, much to my dismay, my tongue was designed long and flat and loose, and therefore, is a horribly ineffective tool for pushing food around my mouth while chewing, and an even less effective tool for making clever and complicated polysyllabic sounds that can be linked together to form sentences. And that's why I'm here now waiting for Denny to come home—he should be here soon—lying on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor in a puddle of my own urine. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the Publisher:

1. Some early readers of the novel have observed that viewing the world through a dog's eyes makes for a greater appreciation of being human. Why do you think this is?

2. Enzo's observations throughout the novel provide insight into his world view. For example:

"The visible becomes inevitable."
"Understanding the truth is simple. Allowing oneself to experience it, is often terrifically difficult."
"No race has ever been won in the first corner; many races have been lost there."

How does his philosophy apply to real life?

3. In the book's darkest moments, one of Zoe's stuffed animals—the zebra—comes to life and threatens him. What does the zebra symbolize?

4. Can you imagine the novel being told from Denny's point of view? How would it make the story different?

5. In the first chapter, Enzo says: "It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human." How does Enzo's situation—a human soul trapped in a dog's body—influence his opinions about what he sees around him? How do you feel about the ideas of reincarnation and karma as Enzo defines them?

6. Do you find yourself looking at your own dog differently after reading this novel?

7. In the book, we get glimpses into the mindset and mentality of a race car driver. What parallels can you think of between the art of racing and the art of living?

8. The character of Ayrton Senna, as he is presented in the book, is heroic, almost a mythic figure. Why do you think this character resonates so strongly for Denny?

Suggested by Members

Who were your favorite and least favorite characters and explain your answers.
by lambh (see profile) 03/03/17

Discuss the race car skills presented as guides for living life.
by wileygreen (see profile) 01/03/14

How deep does the true relationship go between a dog owner and its dog?
As a nation how well do we treat and respect dogs in todays society?
How do you feel about dogs that are treated as fashion accessories or baby/ child substitutes?
by bookview (see profile) 07/06/13

Discuss the meaning of the use of the name "Eve." (Our group had varying interesting responses).
by Yalebabe55 (see profile) 01/06/12

Discuss your thoughts about the evil twins. What was their purpose in the books message?
by mptravis (see profile) 06/02/11

How did you feel when the main character was arrested?
by MsScarlet (see profile) 01/27/11

discuss reincarnation
discuss whether it's changed how you relate to your dog or dogs in general
by NewMexicoTam (see profile) 10/15/10

Dog Wisdom - Enzo had a bit of wisdom to share with his readers. What piece of advise did you find the most eloquent.
by RGDanning (see profile) 05/26/10

paying attention to the little things; death and dying; finding peace
by DonnaS (see profile) 05/02/10

do you believe in reincarnation? Who would you like to come back as?
by jtdefranco (see profile) 04/14/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

From the publisher:

1. Some early readers of the novel have observed that viewing the world through a dog's eyes makes for a greater appreciation of being human. Why do you think this is?

2. Enzo's observations throughout the novel provide insight into his world view. For example:

"The visible becomes inevitable."

"Understanding the truth is simple. Allowing oneself to experience it, is often terrifically difficult."

"No race has ever been won in the first corner; many races have been lost there."

How does his philosophy apply to real life?

3. In the book's darkest moments, one of Zoe's stuffed animals—the zebra—comes to life and threatens him. What does the zebra symbolize?

4. Can you imagine the novel being told from Denny's point of view? How would it make the story different?

5. In the first chapter, Enzo says: "It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human." How does Enzo's situation—a human soul trapped in a dog's body—influence his opinions about what he sees around him? How do you feel about the ideas of reincarnation and karma as Enzo defines them?

6. Do you find yourself looking at your own dog differently after reading this novel?

7. In the book, we get glimpses into the mindset and mentality of a race car driver. What parallels can you think of between the art of racing and the art of living?

8. The character of Ayrton Senna, as he is presented in the book, is heroic, almost a mythic figure. Why do you think this character resonates so strongly for Denny?

About the Author

The author of two novels, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon, and a play, Brother Jones, Garth Stein has also worked as a documentary filmmaker. He lives in Seattle with his family.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 09/02/19

I really enjoyed it. Very sad, but well done.

 
  "the art of racing in the rain"by Carolynr (see profile) 06/21/19

I usually read the reviews of a book after I've read it. I like to see what i might have missed both positive and not so positive. I do get the negative reviews: hard to picture a philoso... (read more)

 
by dash71 (see profile) 06/01/19

Rate this book
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