Review by M
The Dog was longlisted for the Man Booker 2014.
The narrator and main character is an American lawyer wallowing in the aftermath of a newly broken romantic relationship and has taken a very cushy looking job as a lawyer to a super-duper rich Lebanese family based in Dubai. The plot follows his related trials and tribulations, with some very drawn out internal debates (some readers may find these sections tedious but I quite enjoyed reading them).
Threaded through this plot are a series of interconnected master and servant relationships, as our naive narrator comes to realise. The realisation about the extended metaphor of the dog - for me (and perhaps for the narrator too) - was at times funny (sometimes very) but over-ridingly sad. Oh, what a loveable but frustrating character O'Neill has created.
The direction of the plot is slightly predictable, which adds to the sense of frustration, although the ending was not what I expected - though very plausible.
A review in The Guardian suggested that The Dog is too similar in many ways to O'Neill's earlier novel Neverland. I haven't read Neverland but I enjoyed The Dog so much, I'm happy to search out some more-of-the-same or even better in his other work.
Publication details: Fourth Estate, 2014, London
This copy: digital copy for review from the publisher