I’m not even a dog lover and I loved this book. What a gem. In a few spare words, Jill Ciment tells the story of 48 hours in the lives of an elderly couple, their beloved dachshund and the NYC walk-up apartment where they’ve lived for most of their adult lives and which they’ve put on the real estate market for sale – all while the city is in a state of panic over a potential terrorist on the loose. Ciment somehow manages to make a domestic drama read like a thriller, a comedy of manners and a love story. She even gives the dog a few chapters to narrate.
Ruth, a retired schoolteacher, and Alex, an artist who has trouble getting up and down the stairs, are readying their apartment for the realtor’s open house the next day when they notice that Dorothy, the dachshund, can’t move her back legs. They tenderly carry her out of the apartment on a cutting board and attempt to travel uptown to the animal hospital, only to find traffic at a standstill because of a gas tanker that’s stuck in the Midtown Tunnel, causing gridlock around the city. Is the driver of the tanker a terrorist? How will an attack affect the real estate market? Where will Ruth and Alex go if they do sell their apartment? What will become of poor Dorothy?
It’s all described in perfect prose, right down the bidders on the apartment, the other dogs at the animal hospital, the couple with whom Ruth and Alex have dinner in the midst of all this chaos, and, of course, their long and loving relationship.
What a treasure. I’m so glad a friend recommended it.