Book: Dogfight and Other Stories
Author: Michael Knight
Published: 2007 (Grove Press edition)
Literary fiction could use more dogs. Not as, like, metaphors for our animal nature, or the fleeting fragility of life, or whatever, but just as normal hangers-on that occasionally assist the plot in moving along, like in these stories.
I appreciate the realism of these stories' emotions while finding their plots too slight to carry all of it. Notable exceptions are "Smash and Grab," about a burglar who gets caught and tied up by the teenage daughter he didn't realize was still at home (but even in that one she shows no reason for her whimiscally changing moods about whether to let him go or not) and "Amelia Earhart's Coat," which has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with a little girl's 1930s delusions of grandeur about her family and their friend Earhart. It was the only one that felt like the author stretched himself beyond his own experiences and managed to surprise himself with how genuine he could write from someone else's perspective.
So the whole thing is going on the bookshelf mostly for that one story and the strength of the author's resistance to animal sentimentality.