Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Girl with the Dogs, by Anna Funder

Staff review by Chris Saliba

Anna Funder's new novella shows the tension between fantasy and reality in successful yet uneventful middle-class lives.

Tess and Dan are a fairly affluent middle-class couple with three children, 13-year-old Charlotte and six-year old twins, Tom and Lorna. Their 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 would only reach for it. An opportunity presents itself when Tess must travel to London for a work conference. The memory of an old flame comes to mind 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.

The Girl with the Dogs, by Anna Funder. Published by Penguin. ISBN: 9780143573500  RRP: $9.99

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