a book with a dog

Everyone has their own tricks: when I have to cry, for no apparent reason, I recite to myself a passage from the Odyssey, always the same, “There were lies spread over unfortunate Argos, all covered up by an animal that had dug into him. When near him this dog saw Odysseus, he wagged his tail and lowered his two ears; but he could not go to his master. Ulysses in this scene secretly sheds a few tears, stealing his confusion from Eumea… ” And it’s not to be missed, my eyelashes.

However, I experienced this dangerous feeling, with no account of the accident, death of a child or distant bombing that I felt, while reading Pérez-Reverte’s last novel, There is no law or master (1). And I’m grateful to Pérez-Reverte, perhaps the most famous contemporary novelist in the Spanish language, for Homer’s matching of my sentimental references.

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And not just Homer. The author quotes as an epigraph a sentence from the “Dogs Colloquium”, taken from New copies by Cervantes. He may also have evoked “Journey to the Land of the Houyhnhnms”, in which Gulliver finds himself in a land intelligently ruled by horses, while the men – the Yahoos – are thick, speechless atrocities. We are already at the philosophical level of the 18th century, even if everything is happening here and now.

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Negro, the hero, strong bastard of the Spanish mastiff and fila brasileiro, “ancient warrior in gladiator stock”, a veteran of dog fights organized by greedy and violent people – great redundancy. Here he seeks out two lost friends, no doubt kidnapped to serve the pleasures of the people. Boris le Beau, a borzoi of pure beauty, and Teo, a bloodhound from Rhodesia who falls in love with a blond Irish setter, “It was so beautiful that by wagging his tail he could have melted the asphalt, and it was enough to see him walk to understand that he knew it. Those female dogs always knew this. »

A poor Andalusian ratter

So Negro looked for his barkadas. He will look for them, alas. Teo becomes an assassin – the future Spartacus in a major uprising against the terror of people, including children. Boris is put on sexual murder, as are Rochefort and Marielle in the noble film closed up, a definitive snub of all feminist propriety. As for the unfortunate bodeguero – a poor Andalusian rat, who was abandoned by his masters in a highway rest area, may they go to hell! – he dies remembering the little girl whose smell he hugged, when he was still a puppy …

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The book is dedicated to the dogs in the author’s life – including a Mordaunt that came straight out twenty years agolike hers Club Dumas (1993) where Polanski shot The Ninth Gate. All answered by great authors. I suspect Pérez-Reverte read the literary chronicles of Marianne. But if that happens, I want him to tell me that Dogs are always better than men, and his novel is better than all contemporary fiction or autophysics full of good politically correct feelings (“Dogs are always better than humans, and his novel is better than all contemporary fiction or autofiction full of politics right good feelings ”).

Arturo Perez-Reverte, There is no law or masterScale, 209 p., € 19.

(1) The original title, Hard dogs do not dance“The Tough Dogs Don’t Dance”, which appears in Chapter 5, is a likely allusion to Norman Mailer’s novel, Tough men don’t dance (“Really tough guys don’t dance”, Robert Laffont). Was Le Seuil afraid that in our cultured world, the reader would not understand the reference?

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