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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. 45 A very interesting book And not at all what I expected from Joseph O Neill whom I d taken for American fiction s Mr Boring on the strength of Zadie Smith s famous essay Two Paths for the Novel even if the piece s essential idea did seem over simplified Some paragraphs in The Dog must count as Lyrical Realism but almost none of this book is blah litfic the gut response via which I usually label Lyrical Realism O Neill isn t uite what he seems either says an article the longlist contains so many white men white people generally He s actually half Turkish and if his name were too he would probably be classified differently by commentators Like the narrator if he removes his unused unusual first name he is completely camouflaged by his name s commonness The Dog is full of a sense of not entirely belonging anywhere whilst on the surface all strives to be correct sometimes trying to adhere to the values of opposing forces simultaneously A subtle and powerful evocation of the immigrant or half immigrant condition than a lot of first generation family sagas It s predominantly written in a style associated with office work rather than any floweriness of literature although it doesn t use actual legal jargon it s from a mind narrator and author for which legalistic writing is routine It s a meticulous examination of internal thought processes contemporary middle class ethics and the inevitability of compromise and falling short An up to the minute existentialism A critiue of capitalism and the modern condition that because it s realistic and hardly ever violent is way sharper than American Psycho And a realistic updating of the disgruntled not uite middle aged single male narrator for a point in time when men of my background and generation are less likely to say with marginal emarrassment that they sometimes identified with Portnoy than to write about their project of reading female writers and honestly seem to mean it although I still see a suppression of intrinsic human interest and enjoyment in favour of brow beatenness sheepish adherence to the viral internet and a state of being both patronising towards and patronised by women than previously Reviews of O Neill s Netherland point out the significant drawback for many readers of the main character being a highly paid 1% er The narrator of The Dog isn t uite there but he is working for them and would be a higher rate taxpayer in the UK Following a horrendous breakup with a New York colleague he takes a job in Dubai as a family officer a kind of financial manager for a family of shady shipping multimillionaires one of whom was once his university flatmate He lives in a modern luxury complex which is a typical part of an entire city which has the temporary air cushioned vacuum feeling of chain hotels only with an absurd level of amenities The absurdly narcissistic ads for the building and others like it followed by the hubris of the recession frozen construction sites and in the finished complexes workaday residents than once envisaged is the same trajectory as that of many recent warehouse and factory conversions in British citiesHis the kind of post and lifestyle which makes him easy to bracket with wanker bankers though his thoughts are burdened with guilt and thoughts of ethics than most of his peers a set of ethics which online is freuently termed social justice by hundreds of thousands of people who ve never been near volunteering in a soup kitchen or any other social justice work as the term used to mean before the internet mangled it into the war cry of Twitter mobsHis guilt has only has a marginal effect on his actions at work But whilst there is a difference of degrees in terms of the actual impact of a person s job the same trains of thought the same ethical cheese paring and boundary drawing and having to follow policies you don t think are right are universal They also occur in charity and public sector jobs which sound like the most socially useful things you could earn money from Or not earn it they apply in volunteering too You can never help everybody and you can t even help that one person with everything You always have to set the boundaries somewhere although to do so inevitably feels ruthless to both sides Some people try not to a former colleague told me how when she was younger she d got into debt because she was giving so much money to charity and then ended paying in interest than originally to the charities I sometimes wondered to what extent it was weak to want the day to day gratification of helping people directly and a job title that sounded nice and if it might even be useful if only I d been sufficiently healthy to have a high powered City job and donate most of one s salary enough to fund several of my own charity post I ve been through variants of many of the thought processes in The Dog never seen them so closely rendered on paper and I admire the way O Neill has pinned these ideas so exactly whilst making them sound real with the occasional word error and formidable bracket overuse He applies similar precision to his description of how to do Sudoku a procedure it was rather amazing to see verbalisedThe narrator is not a fan of the growing social media of 2007 11 his years of employment but he does spend a lot of time on the internet forums Google Wikipedia and porn until he s so shocked by unexpectedly violent porn that he stops dead Much of life is him on his own or him and the computer His social isolation in Dubai probably makes pronounced his use of professional status and connection as a primary way of describing himself and others It s uite a cold cerebral narrative whilst there s humour and methodical consideration of others experiences there isn t substantial fun or warmth here which is why I ve tentatively rounded my 45 down not up although I only tended to feel something missing when I surfaced from the book because whilst reading I was buzzing with its resonance both personal and general Dog has multiple meanings a dogsbody he is one and he in turn employs one of his own wanting a dog for a pet but not being allowed being dogged by guilt no matter where he goes the state of guilt and shame being in the doghouse in his former relationship and generally all subtly augmented by the unclean status of dogs in Arab culture A sense that whatever you do you can t help being to some extent bad I felt the central uestion of the book to be At what level does one stop trying andor self flagellating and become resigned to things I became aware that I may be forgiving to this narrator s professional situation than some readers would be because being so tired I empathise very readily with inertia and a sense of stuckness even when the subject might actually have the wherewithal to do something about it But anyway these days at the other end of the economic scale from this chap there are a lot of people doing jobs with a negative social impact eg aggressive telesales who really have no choice So although his earnings are many times theirs similar yet really urgent and difficult dilemmas still occurThere is a huge amount to say about The Dog I have a hunch that critics will be calling this an Important Book Another thing I ve not gone into yet is the religious theme which plays out in the denoument obvious when added to the narrator s probable Christian name Although it s only 240 pages this book has enough substance to launch a thousand essays However I am not sure that average undergrads would get so much out of it it speaks very much to and of the sense of loserishness that hits in the second half of one s thirties if adrift without an intact long term partnership and or offspring or at the very least an actual divorce And its intricate prison of work and consumerist dilemmas is most vivid with a good few years of different jobs and experiences under the belt and having heard and thought these things over and over to the paradoxical point of boredom yet knowing they still matter

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The Dog author Joseph ONeill

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 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. I see that one reviewer has already described this book as too smart for most people so there in a nutshell you have it One the one hand it is a breathtaking analysis of the Gulf States coupled with a masterly exploration of the themes of displacement alienation and the uintessence of No whereNo one A re Kafkaization of the post modern novel and an intelligent insightful examination of the Condition of Man if you will On the other it is a somewhat meandering never uite amounting to a plot ramble of a read but not in the familiar way of Virginia Woolf nor come to that in a truly Kafkaesue way For one thing I lamented the absence of a character in whom I could take a than a slight passing interest let alone love doubtless some would say that this is the author s point Stylistically it smacked a little too much of a lawyerly tone and his increasing use of a collection of closing brackets to tie up all the parentheses at the end of a paragraph wonderful the first time paled after a whileReading it I had the sensation that I was looking through a kaleidoscope one with truly beautiful enigmatic patterns which could change my life if only I were able to have got the damn thing into focus properly Doubtless I will have to wait until someone smart enough can explain it all to me

Joseph ONeill É 7 free download

Comic and philosophically profound exploration of what has become of humankind’s moral progress The Dog is told with Joseph O’Neill’s hallmark elouence empathy and storytelling mastery It is a brilliantly original achingly funny fable for our globalized timesA NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKLONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014 PWs Best of the Year 201. With a heavy heavy disclaimer that Joe O Neill is an old and good friend I will say that I am still making up my mind about this book but there is much that is seriously brilliant here It is Bartleby for the 21st century Also undercurrents of Kafka the stranger and remains of the day A lot to think about before bedtime


10 thoughts on “The Dog author Joseph ONeill

  1. says:

    We never learn the real name of the narrator in Joseph O’Neill’s new novel but we do learn that his professional name

  2. says:

    First I have to admire O'Neil for taking uite a risk after his successful and engaging novel NETHERLAND which not only put him on the map but established him as a fine author in the theme of dislocation and alienation Her

  3. says:

    45 A very interesting book And not at all what I expected from Joseph O'Neill whom I'd taken for American fiction's Mr Boring on the strength of Zadie Smith's famous essay Two Paths for the Novel even if the piece's essen

  4. says:

    Joseph O’Ne

  5. says:

    I see that one reviewer has already described this book as too smart for most people so there in a nutshell you have it One the one hand it is a breathtaking analysis of the Gulf States coupled with a masterly exploration of the themes of displacement alienation and the uintessence of No whereNo one A re Kafkaization of the post modern novel and an intelligent insightful examination of the Condition of Man if you will On the other it is a

  6. says:

    Amazing but how can I say this without insulting the general public I can't not for everyone because it's too smart for most people Comically

  7. says:

    With a heavy heavy disclaimer that Joe O'Neill is an old and good friend I will say that I am still making up my mind about this book but there is much that is seriously brilliant here It is Bartleby for the 21st century Also undercurrents of

  8. says:

    Never written a review this early into a book but the writing is absolutely eye watering I've never read a literary writer whose prose looks so much like programming language and by that I mean lots and lots of nes

  9. says:

    Man Booker Longlist? Publisher's Weekly Top 10? Surely notI was really hoping for a book based around the ironies that form modern day Dubai instead I got a rambling nonsense of facetious observations pornography meaningless words and multi bracketsSo here's an example of one needlessly wordy sentence I felt ashamed specifically ashamed that is which is to say filled with shame additional to the general ignominy that is the coro

  10. says:

    This is the story of a man who moves to Dubai to work for a company with incredible wealth but uestionable dealings While it seems like a decent capture of some of the uniue elements of the culture and feel of Dubai a city with 90 percent ex pats and money than they know what to do with I didn't connect well to