The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel

Paperback | June 9, 2009

byGarth Stein

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The New York Times bestseller, now available in paperback. A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of a dog’s efforts to hold together his family in the face of a divisive custody battle.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

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From the Publisher

The New York Times bestseller, now available in paperback. A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of a dog’s efforts to hold together his family in the face of a divisive custody battle.Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs),...

From the Jacket

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

Garth Stein is the author ofEnzo Races in the Rain!, based on theNew York Timesbestselling novelThe Art of Racing in the Rain(and its tween adaptation,Racing in the Rain). His other works includeA Sudden Light,How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets,Raven Stole the Moon, and a play,Brother Jones. He is the cofounder of Seattle7Writer...

other books by Garth Stein

Racing In The Rain: My Life as a Dog
Racing In The Rain: My Life as a Dog

Paperback|May 3 2011

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A Sudden Light: A Novel
A Sudden Light: A Novel

Paperback|Sep 15 2015

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Raven Stole The Moon: A Novel
Raven Stole The Moon: A Novel

Paperback|Mar 9 2010

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see all books by Garth Stein
Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.76 inPublished:June 9, 2009Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061537969

ISBN - 13:9780061537967

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book Ever This book is absolutely amazing. I am an animal lover and so when I picked up this book I thought it would be interesting as it is written through the eyes of the family dog. I was amazed at how much I loved it. I cried until my eyes were too blurry to read, I laughed until my stomach hurt and I wasn't left feeling hopeless or depressed. It was well written and you really felt like it was written by someone who actually went through this life. I passed it on to a few friends and family members who all loved it. Whenever I'm asked for a recommendation this is always the first off my lips. Must read!
Date published: 2015-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read for animal lovers! I must admit, it took me two tries to get through the first chapter, it is heart-wrenching. This is an amazing view of the world through the eyes of a very wise and loving dog; one you'd love to have as your companion. It was so hard to put down; every word is beautifully written so that you see what Enzo sees. This is one of my favourite books, ever! Will be a definite read-again.
Date published: 2014-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shared and loved. A good friend told me to read this gem, and I loved it. Great option for book clubs!
Date published: 2014-10-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Doggone Good Story I read this book for a book club I plan to attend next week. I don't think I would have read this book otherwise. The opening chapter starts with the dog Enzo complaining about all his ailments brought on by old age and wanting to die. So you know how the book is going to end. All books about dogs end that way. We just live longer than them. I found the book to be really character driven. There is plenty of action to story. The action in the story is driven by the character of charcters in the story. I really got into the characters and I felt the pain and torment tha the lead human character was feeling. I should not have read this before trying to go to sleep at night. I became as enraged as the character did. That is a good sign of how well the characters are developed. And that is what makes a book interesting to read for me. Many of us who are pet owners have wondered, "What are our pet thinking? What would they say if they could talk?" This book tries to answer that question. This was a leap of faith to believe that a dog could know so much about racing and have a list of favorite actors. The author won me over when the dog said that The Rockford Files was one of the best television shows of all time. I did find the end a little sappy. The way the lead human character's life turned around at the end and his dreams came true was a big leap of faith. I enjoyed the book. It was not a hard read and you can really get into it.
Date published: 2013-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Man's best friend Wow - I really loved this book. I first picked it up a few years ago after all the "Marley & Me" hype (which doesn't hold a candle to this read), but I decided after the first chapter, that a book narrated by a dog about his final days just wasn't for me. Turns out, that's really not what this book is about at all! This book is narrated by a dog, the faithful Enzo, and his perspective is so loyal and true. Denny is a wonderful lead character too. This book is really about family, the ties that bind, the tough choices that must be made, and the power of the human (and canine!) spirit. I can't say enough good things about this book. I loved it. I laughed, I cried, and then I cried some more. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Date published: 2013-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most enjoyable (and emotional) read in years! It's gratifying to see so many positive reviews of this book because I always feel a little silly when I have recommended it to friends and colleagues. I can't say enough great things about this book. As a huge animal lover, I may be biased in my opinion but this was a wonderful book and I was sorry when it was finished (always a good sign). I even wrote to Garth Stein to tell him how much his book had moved me and amazingly, he wrote back! Dog lover or not, anyone could enjoy this story and it does give you a whole new perspective on our four legged companions.
Date published: 2012-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Two Thumbs (and all Paws) up! A sweet and affecting book about life and love, bitter and sweet. It is an incredibly easy book to read, and even though parts of it are sad, you end up feeling really hopeful and uplifted. And if you have a dog, you'll appreciate them more after reading this ;-) I think nearly anyone would enjoy this read.
Date published: 2012-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For the animal lover ***CONTAINS SPOILERS*** Let me preface this review by saying I had NO idea what this book was about when I bought it. I have 3 dogs at home, who I love to pieces, and thought the cover was just the cutest thing. And to be written in the point of view of the dog, well sign me up! I didn’t expect this book to really touch me and to make me think about what’s going through my dogs’ heads. Yes, I talk to my dogs. We have conversations – usually one-sided, but conversations nonetheless. I see the looks in their eyes – those looks that you can’t quite read, but try to imagine what they’re thinking. Enzo, the main character in Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, was a gem of a dog. It’s funny how humans have gone through life with these animals as companions and we’ve never really done anything to try and figure out what they’re thinking or what they may want to say to us. Just like the deepest oceans or the furthest planets, they’re a mystery. I’ve stayed up with one of my dogs, Bailey, in the night as she was throwing up. She gave me a look like she didn’t get what was going on – I couldn’t ask her how she was feeling, did she need anything … I have to trust her and she has to trust me in order for our relationship to work. Enzo’s thought process in the novel are very human-like. He watches TV during the day and learns new things. He learns all about racing from his master, Denny, and all about the human condition from his life with Denny, Eve, and Zoe. Before it’s known that Eve is sick, he can smell it on her and wishes that he could tell someone. Darn his lack of a tongue that can form words! When Zoe’s grandparents give Denny a literal run for his money for the custody of Zoe, Enzo steps in and makes Denny make the right decision. When Denny is about to give up and sign papers to give the grandparents full custody, Enzo steals those papers and pees on them, ultimately letting Denny know his thoughts on Denny giving up. The book is full of humour, sadness, and life. All through the eyes of the dog. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll leave with a wonderment towards your pet – what are they really thinking? Recommended for any animal lover.
Date published: 2012-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put down This book is a number 1 book recommendation from me to everyone. It is an amazing book that tells the story of a man's trials and tribulations (and so much more!) from the unique perspective of his dog. Wow.
Date published: 2012-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I loved loved loved this book! You will fall in love with Enzo (the entire book is narrated by a dog named Enzo). He is wise, funny, and loveable! I laughed out loud and my eyes filled up with tears at some parts. A real page turner. I especially enjoyed his parallels to life and car racing - though not a car racing fan. One of the best books I've read. Highly recommend it!
Date published: 2012-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing! The Art of Racing in the Rain is an amazing read. I absolutely loved Stein's heart-wrenching storyline uniquely told from Enzo's (the dog's) view. Would hands-down recommend this read to everyone, and anyone.
Date published: 2011-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An extraordinary and wonderful read This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. A story as told by a dog, it will make you laugh, cry, feel outrage,, anger and love, but in the end, it teaches some wonderful life lessons. I highly recommend this book. Bravo to the writer, Garth Stein!
Date published: 2011-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for Dog owners... A look into how are little friends think is amazing! I gave this book to a friend of mine who's dog was really old and she just wanted to keep holding on to her as long as she could. After reading this she took a step back and looked at life and her puppy. It's amazing how one book can change your life. I love Enzo. I laughed and cried! Amazing Book.
Date published: 2011-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book review from a personal perspective A friend lent me this book as I am grappling with the mental and physical decline of my dog. You will find though that you don’t need to own a pet to be swept up in the story of Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver, his family and the events that reshape their lives. Garth Stein’s writing stands out among the overly long list of dog books and doesn’t have the fluff of the likes of a Marley & Me. The humans’ story is told by the dog Enzo. He proves to be a wise, funny and ultimately philosophical narrator. If like me, you prefer not to look at life’s bigger issues through a spiritual purple haze his worldview even if it is from ground level is refreshingly logical. The reader will find themselves thinking about an odd assortment of things from their thumbs to the big stuff like navigating life as though you’re on a race track, hence its compelling title. This is one of those books that affects everyone differently which makes The Art Of Racing in the Rain a great book club choice. Published in 2008 it came into my life at the right time. Reading about living and dying from a dogs perspective enabled me to step back from the overwhelming heaviness of it all. As he nears the end of his life, avid TV watcher Enzo is fascinated by a documentary about Mongolia where dogs are laid to rest high in the hills. While I cannot give that to the chocolate Labrador who has shared my life for many years; I can grant him this last summer to warm his aching body and perhaps bring some peace to a now cloudy mind. And I know that he will tell me when it is enough.
Date published: 2011-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a beautiful reflection on life,love, relationships and self-determination Warning!...As the owner of a much loved elder Golden retriever I cried through parts of the book but the ending was so uplifting it made it all worth it. This old Zen-like dog has a lot to teach us about life and death and persuing our destiny (intentionality) as he accompanies his owner with dignity and loyalty through each moment (good or bad). The racing analogies add beautiful insights into remaining calm and staying the course of life while keeping our eyes on the next curve ....As soon as I finished, I couldn't wait to pass this book on to a friend....It's that good!!!!!
Date published: 2011-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Fantastic I love this book so much, I read it twice in a row! :)
Date published: 2011-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you love dogs... I was intrigued by the concept of reading a story told by a dog. I found this a magical read. Enzo is full of life and wisdom and gives a unique perspective on life... he is a furry philosopher. I found the book hard to put down. Truly enjoyable. If you have ever loved a dog, if you have ever lost a dog you loved, you must read this book.
Date published: 2011-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best I've read in a long time This is the story of an owner's stages of life, told from his dog's point of view. Enzo is a dog moving on to his own next stage of life and has educated himself so that he is ready. He is not only erudite, but philosophical. And he is funny. His story about why he fears crows will have you in tears. If you loved "Marley," crank up the IQ a hundred points and meet Enzo.
Date published: 2011-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Adorable and Touching Look Into The Mind of a Dog THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein A beautiful story about his life with his family told by a dog, Enzo. This book was triumph and heartbreak all in one, and cleverly written. Enzo's point of view wasn't what I expected, but I thought it was adorable that he understands things, and feels things the same as the rest of his family would. The story of Enzo and his family would be a great story if told from an outside point of view, but having Enzo tell it just gives it something that a human point of view just could not. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is an endearing look into what it would be like for a dog to have a mind like a human. The sadness, the happiness, the sun, and the rain - Enzo feels them all and lets you into the inner workings of his mind and his heart while on his journey through life with the people he most loves and admires. Dog lovers won't want to miss going on this rollercoaster-of-life journey with Enzo; he may just teach you a thing or two. ;) "My soul has learned what it came to learn, and all the other things are just things." Overall Opinion: A- Check out my blog for the complete review, and more.
Date published: 2010-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved this book Enzo is a dog like no others. He knows that when he dies he will return as a man and so hopes by watching the humans around him he will learn his lessons well. He educates himself by watching TV and listening to his master, Denny. On the eve of his death Enzo recounts his life story. He starts off when he was picked by Denny and goes through Denny's life. The hardships Denny has faced trying to become a professional race car driver. The marriage and then loss of his wife to cancer. The ugly custody battles with his late wife's parents over his daughter Zoe. All Enzo hopes for is for Denny to have Zoe beside him when he wins the ultimate race. Enzo draws on car racing as an analogy of life. Enzo's way of looking at life is funny, quirky and sometimes sad. One wonders if dogs really see us this way. Even though I knew Enzo was dying I cried buckets at the end. Loved, loved this story
Date published: 2009-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An outstanding and original story. I bought this book because I thought that the cover looked interesting. The story did not disappoint what so ever. Garth Stein creates characters that are easy to relate to and fun to get to know. As an adult male whose dog is as part of a family as anyone, this book was a must read. I strongly reccomend it to anyone who loves their pets, and wonders what they must be thinking...
Date published: 2009-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Captivating The author tells the story of a dog called Enzo who narrates his life experiences as if he was human. The novel will definitely stimulate your thoughts the next time you look at your favourite pet and he looks back as only a pet can …. This is a heart-wrenching tale running the gamut of life. With amazing writing, the author brings Enzo to life so perfectly, with his wants and needs and wishes he puts you under a spell. Enzo has been given a human soul, has gained knowledge by watching TV and listening to the words of his master, race car driver Denny Swift. You are temporary fooled into believing that this dog could be real and able to talk. The story starts on the eve of Enzo’s death; taking stock of his life and his relationship with his adopted family, Danny, Eve and Zoe. This novel is beautifully crafted and highly captivating; Mr Stein has pulled off a very human story of love and loss one can easily relate to.
Date published: 2009-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite of the year so far... I'm not sure what I was expecting of a tale told from a dog's point of view, but I certainly wasn't expecting something this wonderful, moving, tender, or bittersweet. This is the story of Enzo, a dog owned by Denny Swift during the pivotal years of Denny's life. Denny is a gifted car racer with a wife and child, and Enzo is a dog educated by television and his powerful intuitions on the world around him. Enzo relates to the world in deft metaphors about car racing, scents, and using his limited expressive abilities (if he only had a tongue that worked to make words!), and he tells the tale of Denny's life, and Enzo's own, in a beautiful, loving way that will grab you along for the ride. The only criticism I can say has nothing to do with the writing, but with the publisher's choice of cover - very early on, Enzo describes himself, and the dog on the cover is not that "brown-black" dog with "wiry fur." Could it have been that hard to find a cover that was representative? It seems like such a small thing... Enzo longs for an opposable thumb, an expressive voice, and a little bit of dignity, and to help. The story, which left me absolutely choked up, is told well, and I couldn't stop reading from start to finish in two days, at every available quiet moment.
Date published: 2008-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Southing to the grieving soul I recently had to put down my dog and was wondering what must have been going through her mind when I did and then I walked into the book store and found this book and just after reading the first chapter I was hooked, and suddenly I started to feel better about my decision. If you have had a dog who you were attached to and had to let go of this book does help ease the pain with a little bit of everything, and yes it will even make you smile and laugh again when you thought it not possible. Great book so thankful for its help in my grieving process.
Date published: 2008-06-20

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Editorial Reviews

“I savored Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain for many reasons: a dog who speaks, the thrill of competitive racing, a heart-tugging storyline, and--best of all--the fact that it is a meditation on humility and hope in the face of despair.”