The Dogs of Littlefield {read online} AUTHOR Suzanne Berne – monarchfirm.co.uk

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S don’t happen in LittlefieldWith an element of suspense satirical social commentary and in depth character portraits Suzanne Berne’s nuanced novel reveals the discontent concealed behind the manicured lawns and picket fences of darkest suburbia The Dogs of Littlefield is “a compelling poignant yet unsentimental novel that examines life love and loss” Sunday Mirror U. Enjoyed this than I thought I would I picked it up at the library because the premise sounded interesting and it was but the prose turned out to be absolutely lovely and there were many layers to the story giving it meaning and weight Berne s writing was reminiscent of Stef Penney s Tenderness of Wolves which for me is one of the most beautifully written books I ve ever read This book is also well worth reading

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The Dogs of Littlefield

A “brilliantly done” Sunday Times London comedy of manners that explores the unease behind the manicured lawns of suburban America from the Orange Prize–winning author of A Crime in the NeighborhoodLittlefield Massachusetts named one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America full of psychologists and college professors is proud of its fine schools its girls’ soccer t. The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne is incredibly dull It won a minor award but why on earth was this book awarded anything Reading this is like watching paint dry I think it is supposed to be a literary novel but the only message I picked up is an obvious implication that the people of Littlefield are like their leashed castrated dogs as pampered and neurotic as any bored neutered animal This little field of a story struck me as a very small slice of processed white bread suburban angst indeed As the school year is beginning the current ongoing argument occupying the adult inhabitants of Littlefield is whether those who own dogs should be permitted to allow the dogs to go off leash in a specific park Then suddenly the dogs are being poisoned so everybody is vaguely on edge This is a town of mostly well to do upper middle class professionals and there is usually not much that causes worry in this pretty well kept place of nice houses clean parks good schools and nice manners Margaret owns a young black lab called Binx He is on leash most of the time but he usually pulls Margaret along with a lot of force She barely controls his exuberance and it frustrates her She also is dissatisfied with her bland marriage to Bill who appears to no longer have much interest in either Margaret or Julia their teenage daughter Margaret participates in civic events goes to parties talks to her neighbors thinks about having an affair Julia is slightly depressed but she doesn t want too much from anyone anyway and she watches her parents worrying about them and Binx Bill is worried he doesn t appear to care much about anything They worry and worry for 300 pages despite their lack of real problems I thought the anxieties were all born of ennui The characters all lack any interior life and that is the true source of their problemsview spoilerAs the seasons change Binx has to be castrated and it has the effect of calming him down too much There are a number of worried conversations between the major characters about their married relationships The dog poisonings which soon stop after five dogs die were of no conseuence since the perpetrator was trying to kill the coyotes that were wandering about A new neighbor moves in nearby who is a college professor studying the town for their happiness and contentment but she does not find any Julia has a minor accident Everybody experiences vague anxieties but except for the mystery of the few poisonings there is almost no real drama or danger except for that imagined by Margaret and Julia and others as we follow them for a year in the novel The college professor discovers Littlefield has therapists than any other occupation living there which the professor can t understand since during the year that she lives in Littlefield nothing really goes wrong there I can t understand it either because this book never built up any energy or speed or meaning or drama or action unless it was simply to develop the message that being financially stable ends up being a bore causing people to create a bit of imaginary drama but no one thinks to push beyond suburban social s I think the author hates shallow upper class suburban dwellers wallowing in self pity as much as I do but this book seemed to sputter out like a badly made candle after a meek attempt to enlighten If it was supposed to be funny it wasn t hide spoiler

Suzanne Berne Ì 7 review

Eams its leafy streets and charming village centerYet no sooner has sociologist Dr Clarice Watkins arrived to study the elements of “good uality of life” than someone begins poisoning the town’s dogs Are the poisonings in protest to an off leash proposal for Baldwin Park the subject of much town debate or the sign of a far deeper disorder Certainly these types of thing. You know how often books grow on you They start out slow or confusing or whatever and they just get better and better Well this book sort of shrunk on me I liked it a lot at first The characters and their challenges grabbed me and the sense of community in this New England town seemed so interesting I wanted to know what was going to happen to everyone But as the book went along everyone just started getting on my nerves and I didn t care as much what happened to them Granted the book has some sly humor and good commentary on our modern society loveless marriages kids who have everything yet nothing etc but no one was likable enough for me to care very much Also the small element of fantasy was confusing and wrapped up in a pat sort of way The whole ending was just blah So I guess I m giving it three stars because I loved it so much in the beginning and had such hopes for this novel I thought it might be sort of an Anne Tyler style But it left me cold


10 thoughts on “The Dogs of Littlefield

  1. says:

    'The Dogs of Littlefield' by Suzanne Berne is incredibly dull It won a minor award but why on earth was this book awarded anything? Reading this is like watching paint dry I think it is supposed to be a literary novel but the only message I picked up is an obvious implication that the people of Littlefield are like their l

  2. says:

    I think I may have set my sights a little high for this one; I'd had my eye on it since it's publication date was announced last year and I was really hoping for some super snarky reading about this idyllic fictitious upper crust Massachusetts neighborhood where the residents are consumed with first world problems like the mystery of several dogs being poisoned So please note that this may be a great book for many of you; it just wasn't wh

  3. says:

    Briefly put well written and mostly engaging Though I didn't find it humourous as was cited on the front cover And the dogs

  4. says:

    You know how often books grow on you? They start out slow or confusing or whatever and they just get better and better Well this boo

  5. says:

    In this glimpse of the lives of the upper middle class a theme of despondency seems to be the norm With all the ingredients needed to be happy how come this sheltered town brimming with psychoanalysts and therapists has so

  6. says:

    I decided to read this book as it has been short listed for the Baileys women's prize for fiction From reading the blurb I thought the main theme of the book would be the dog killer however it actually focuses on the life of a house

  7. says:

    Enjoyed this than I thought I would I picked it up at the library because the premise sounded interesting and it was but the prose turned out to be absolutely lovely and there were many layers to the story giving it meani

  8. says:

    This book was pretty meh I struggled to get into it at all and even the mystery surrounding the dogs wasn’t the main part of the book In fact the dogs only play a bit part and the main character according to the blurb isn’t the main charac

  9. says:

    A rare 5 from me I just love how meticulously Berne crafts a story

  10. says:

    The Dogs of Littlefield is a fictionalized study of an affluent suburb in America It hits a little close to home as it mirrors the community where I am employed full of psychologists and college professors is proud