Man and beast

The dogwalker walked Sir Henry alone or with one particular other dog, a small poodle belonging to a dying violinist. The poodle was stately, subtle and, like the dachshund, possessed of a poise that elevated it beyond its miniature stature. The two seemed to have an understanding. The poodle marked first and with great discretion; the dachshund marked second. They trotted happily beside each other at an identical pace, despite the fact that the poodle’s legs were almost twice as long. They listened to the dogwalker acutely and responded promptly to his commands. It was their pleasure to serve.

Did they serve him? No, and he would not have it so. They served decorum, the order of things.

— Lydia Millet, “Sir Henry,” in Love in Infant Monkeys, page 41.

Though I loved the beginning, I ran aground in Millet’s atom-bomb novel Oh Pure & Radiant Heart; these short stories worked better for me. The proportions of satire, tenderness, and rage vary from one to the next. Nice cover, too, with the trompe l’oeil sticker in gloss.

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One thought on “Man and beast

  1. lisa peet says:

    I loved that story. Have you seen the animation that Electric Lit put together that goes with it?

    It’s snowing on your blog!

    — Thanks for the link, that animation is oddly hypnotic. Yeah, I hope the snow is not too irritating; I figured it would mostly show against the header image. nbm

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