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BRET EASTON ELLIS AND THE OTHER DOGS | BOOK REVIEW

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Bret Easton EllisBRET EASTON ELLIS AND THE OTHER DOGS

Lina Wolff (And Other Stories)

It’s not often that you come across a novel as wonderful, alluring and surreal as Lina Wolff’s Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs. Originally written in Swedish but set in Barcelona and the down-and-out town of Caudal, the narrator is Araceli, a woman looking back at a period when she was younger. But the narrative isn’t linear as it incorporates a number of vignettes including a short story by Araceli’s neighbour, Alba Cambó,

The title comes from the dogs, all named after male writers, kept at the brothel in the run-down town of Caudal. When the men are cruel to the prostitutes they take it out on the dogs by feeding them rotting meat. It’s a throwaway detail at the end of the novel, largely set in Barcelona, but is an idea that runs throughout this impressive book. Men are seen as powerful but also cruel and clueless when it comes to women. They get what they deserve. But rather than simply being a feminist novel, Wolff explores the distance between all people and the way all people can manipulate one another for power regardless of gender. It can often be cynical about human relationships but also explores friendship, motherhood and adoration of others as well as the role of culture and reading, as the title suggests.

At times shocking, sad and funny, it’s written in a vibrant and energetic prose. Wolff is a writer to look out for.

Rhodri Jones

Price: £9.99 paperback / £4.68 Kindle. Info: www.andotherstories.org

 

 

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