Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Dog Days"

Ana Marie Cox is one of my favorite people. And I've never even met her.

But I was a faithful follower of "Wonkette," the inside-Washington blog she founded and edited until moving on earlier this year. Her writing was not only smart but crisp and confessional (though how genuine her confessions were is another thing), and she used the language employed in real life by the denizens of the Capitol, not the bland version they save for the form letters that go out to constituents. (There are exceptions, of course, to the blandness of those constituent letters.)

Also, she would never (OK, rarely) stoop to a stunt like titling an August 1st blog entry, "Dog Days."

And so I eagerly scooped up her debut novel when it hit the bookshelves at the start of the year.

Dog Days closely tracks an actual story that played out over several months in Washington, a story Wonkette not only owned but was instrumental in creating. For its pains, in fact, Wonkette is now involved in a legal battle that grew out of the whole sordid mess.

Knowing a great deal of the actual story already, the plot of the fictional version did not surprise me much; but I do love the way Cox tells a tale.

Had I not been a faithful Wonkette reader, I suspect I would share the high opinion Christopher Buckley (who knows a funny Washington novel when he sees one) spelled out in his New York Times review.

Click here to read Buckley's review, which not only includes a good synopsis of the novel but is an entertaining essay in itself.

Click here for P.J. O'Rourke's less positive review of Dog Days in the Washington Post, and here for Carol Memmott's review in USA Today.

Why are they called the "dog days of August?" Click here to find out.

--Marshal Zeringue