Fleeing recent heartbreak, a New York lawyer immigrates to Dubai to work as the “family officer” for his college friend’s tremendously rich family. In this bizarre desert wonderland, our scuba-enthusiast narrator navigates allegorical conflicts signature to modern life: obsession over the construction project next door; second-nature Googling and Facebooking; the memory of his not wanting kids as the cause of the traumatic breakup. A comically philosophical commentary on excessive wealth and technological development—maybe the ruin of morality and intellect. The Dog is constantly entertaining and hilariously smart.— Julia
This book is terrific--sharp, funny, and constantly moving in unexpected directions. Basically the story of a newly-single attorney who takes a job in Dubai working for an obscenely wealthy family, it's really a meditation on loneliness and dislocation. O'Neill's narrator is a little lost, a little obsessive and anti-social, but always smart, interesting and sympathetic. His attempts to make a life in the very, very strange world that is Dubai are both funny and heartbreaking. Though there's very little in the way of plot, the book never drags; the writing is so crisp and intelligent, the physical and cultural setting so different from nearly everything else you've ever read, the pages essentially turn themselves. This one easily makes my short list of the best books of the year.— Rico
***A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK***
***LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014***
***PWs Best of the Year 2014***
The author of the best-selling and award-winning Netherland now gives us his eagerly awaited, stunningly different new novel: a tale of alienation and heartbreak in Dubai.
Distraught by a breakup with his long-term girlfriend, our unnamed hero leaves New York to take an unusual job in a strange desert metropolis. In Dubai at the height of its self-invention as a futuristic Shangri-la, he struggles with his new position as the "family officer" of the capricious and very rich Batros family. And he struggles, even more helplessly, with the "doghouse," a seemingly inescapable condition of culpability in which he feels himself constantly trapped--even if he's just going to the bathroom, or reading e-mail, or scuba diving. A comic and philosophically profound exploration of what has become of humankind's moral progress, The Dog is told with Joseph O'Neill's hallmark eloquence, empathy, and storytelling mastery. It is a brilliantly original, achingly funny fable for our globalized times.