Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pg. 69: Matt Haig's "The Labrador Pact"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Matt Haig's The Labrador Pact.

About the book, from the author's website:
The Last Family in England is published in the UK by Vintage. It is called The Labrador Pact in America and is published by Viking/Penguin....

Here's the original blurb:

Meet Prince, the canine narrator of this tragi-comic tale of family life. As with all Labradors, he has devoted his entire existence to preserving the happiness and security of his human masters. Not that his human masters realise this, of course.

After all, when the Hunter family rescued him, they had no idea that they were the ones who were really being saved. But as events unfold Prince realises he’s got his work cut out. The trouble is that while he has no problem in remembering his duty, the Hunters themselves seem to have greater difficulty remembering theirs.

Of particular concern is Adam Hunter, who forgets his responsibilities as a father and husband when he becomes sexually attracted to a young and flirtatious aromatherapist.

Then there’s Kate, Adam’s wife. As Prince watches her increasingly neurotic behaviour he detects something is wrong and decides to sniff out the source of the trouble. What he eventually discovers is a treacherous secret which could tear Adam, Kate and their two children apart.

The Last Family in England explores the hidden dangers of family life from the perspective of the only family member who gets to see everything – the knee-high, four-legged observer in the corner of the room. Through Prince’s eyes (and nose) we come to realise the secrets which hold families together and which, once dug up, can lead to their destruction.
Among the praise for the novel:
"Normally, if a book makes me sad, I chuck it immediately. But this book is so brilliant, I broke my own rule."
--Julie Burchill

"I love this book. It's fabulous and moving and funny and strange. It will go
down among the great animal books."
--Jeanette Winterson

"This debut novel is a winner from page one . . . A subtle, dog's-eye view of the frailty of human relationships, it is perceptive, enchanting and destined to be this summer's must-read."
--Mail on Sunday

"Hard on the heels of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, this clever, funny and oddly dark novel is clearly destined to become a cult hit. I only wish my dog had thought of it first."
--Carla McKay, Daily Mail

[A] wry, serio-comic family tail, er, tale, for our serio-comic times."
--Washington Post
Read an excerpt from The Labrador Pact, and learn more about the book and author at The Labrador Pact website.

Matt Haig’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Independent, and the Sydney Morning Herald. Last year he contributed Page 69 Test and My Book, The Movie entries for The Dead Fathers Club, his American debut novel. Visit Matt Haig at MySpace or his official website.

The Page 69 Test: The Dead Fathers Club.

My Book, The Movie: The Dead Fathers Club.

The Page 69 Test: The Labrador Pact.

--Marshal Zeringue