What if Denny narrated the novel?

Discuss the December 2014 book of the month, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
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Scott
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What if Denny narrated the novel?

Post by Scott »

Following is a discussion question from the author for the December 2014 book of the month, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein.

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

I can imagine it. I definitely think it would take away from some of the fun of reading the book. Usually, we have to assume a narrator's telling of events is biased to himself. The irony of this book is that Enzo so incredibly worshipped Denny that I imagine the dog's telling of the story is even more biased in Denny's favor than if Denny told the story. That relates to one main thing I love most about this book: that the author artfully left so much open to interpretation. In this case, we have the question of whether Enzo is a reliable narrator or if maybe Denny is not really as great as Enzo tells us he is.
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Post by HoneyB »

I'm not sure I would have been drawn into reading it in the first place if the story wasn't told from the dogs POV. For me, that was interesting and different from the moment it was introduced to me. I agree with you that it would take some of the fun out of it.
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Post by Artiste8 »

I don't think the story would have been as good if it would have been told from Denny's point of view.

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Post by gali »

I agree. Much of the charm of this book comes from the voice of the narrator.
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Post by L_Therese »

That the story is from the dog's perspective is my favorite element of the story. I think the story would lose a lot of its charm and wouldn't be so memorable.

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Post by bookowlie »

Scott wrote:Following is a discussion question from the author for the December 2014 book of the month, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein.

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

I can imagine it. I definitely think it would take away from some of the fun of reading the book. Usually, we have to assume a narrator's telling of events is biased to himself. The irony of this book is that Enzo so incredibly worshipped Denny that I imagine the dog's telling of the story is even more biased in Denny's favor than if Denny told the story. That relates to one main thing I love most about this book: that the author artfully left so much open to interpretation. In this case, we have the question of whether Enzo is a reliable narrator or if maybe Denny is not really as great as Enzo tells us he is.
Scott, what an insightful post. I agree with your comment that there is a lot open to interpretation, particularly whether Denny is as wonderful as Enzo tells us. I can imagine the novel being told from Denny's point of view, but the book takes on a special quality from having Enzo narrate the story. Dogs worships their owners, so I think there is a lot in the book that is biased toward Denny doing the absolute "right" thing in all situations. The book becomes so much more interesting from the dog's perspective, especially during times of stress and crisis.
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Post by Skillian »

hahaha. Yeah Enzo worships his 'soul mate.' I think his point of view is completely biased, but that really held true in how I totally see dog's being. Every family dog we've had has always had a clear favorite family member. The book would definitely have lost a great amount of appeal if there was a different narrator. Enzo's point of view is what made the story so special.
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Post by librarydancer »

An interesting counter point to the question of if Denny narrated the book would be to ask how frequently Enzo would be mentioned if Denny was the narrator.

I can't imagine he would be mention much at all. Certainly some of the most charming parts of the story -- the race car ride that Enzo went on -- would not have even been mentioned.

I agree with most of the other posters about the charm of the story is due to the special narrator.

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Post by Skillian »

librarydancer wrote:An interesting counter point to the question of if Denny narrated the book would be to ask how frequently Enzo would be mentioned if Denny was the narrator.

I can't imagine he would be mention much at all. Certainly some of the most charming parts of the story -- the race car ride that Enzo went on -- would not have even been mentioned.

I agree with most of the other posters about the charm of the story is due to the special narrator.


Good point! I wonder if it would have been just about his racing and family... with hardly any mention to Enzo. You're probably right. Awwww.... what a sad thought.
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Post by Little House »

It would be an ordinary story if told by Denny. Told by Enzo, it is an amazing story. So many things that would be glossed over with a human narrator are brought alive by Enzo.
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Post by Anacoana »

Everything said here is basically my opinion. Personally, I love stories told by animals and the reason I picked the book up in the first place was because it was told by a dog. Would I have done so if it was the story of Denny and his family as told by Denny? Most likely not. Enzo is what makes this story special, and with everything that happens and Denny's changing mindsets and moods and how things directly affect him more than Enzo, I think it would be a little darker with him as the narrator.

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Post by danigroeneveld »

Enzo was amazing! He was the greatest narrator of human nature. If it were told by Denny, I wouldn't have been able to see Denny.

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Post by Dando »

It would be a totally different story if Denny was the narrator. Denny had enough drama going on to make it a decent story, but it is clearly the unique narration that makes this book stand out.
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Post by GKCfan »

That's a very interesting question. The perspective from how the novel is told utterly affects the trajectory of the novel and how the characters are presented. Every book could be utterly different with a new narrator.

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Post by 3chicnP »

I don't think that the story would be as interesting in a dog's POV. I wouldn't like it very much
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