My Dog Tulip: Movie tie-in edition (New York Review Books Classics)

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9781590174142: My Dog Tulip: Movie tie-in edition (New York Review Books Classics)
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Heartwarming and profound, this account of one writer's relationship with his beloved German sheperd is a masterpiece of animal literature. 

The distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middleage, he came into possession of a German shepherd. Tohis surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the“ideal friend” he had been searching for in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound andsubtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heartof all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determinedefforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.

My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as "A stroke of genius" by New York Magazine and "The love story of the year" by Vanity Fair.

My Dog Tulip was adapted into a major motion picture in 2010. 

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Review:

My Dog Tulip is the ultimate bitch session--in the canine sense of the phrase, of course. In 1947, J.R. Ackerley rescued an 18-month-old German shepherd, and from the start her every look and move were to undo him. "Tulip never let me down. She is nothing if not consistent. She knows where to draw the line, and it is always in the same place, a circle around us both. Indeed, she is a good girl, but--and this is the point--she would not care for it to be generally known." As he anatomizes her from head to toe with the awe-struck precision of a medieval courtier, Ackerley instantly turns us into Tulipomanes. Alas, many of the mere mortals she encounters feel differently, for there are indeed two Tulips. One is highly strung but heroic, flirtatious but true. The other is a four-legged rejoinder to authority: a biter, a barker, and a dab hand at defecating her way around London. Not that any of these are her fault. "You're the trouble," Tulip's one good vet tells Ackerley as she banishes him from the surgery. "She's in love with you, that's obvious. And so life's full of worries for her."

In many ways this 1956 memoir is an intimate saga of human idealism and doggish realism. Or is it the other way around? In any case, this odd couple undertakes a series of adventures, which bring them into contact with a gallery of strange, mostly martial players. There's the taunting Colonel Finch, owner of Gunner, an Alsatian suitor that Tulip finds wanting--and Captain Pugh, who had served with Ackerley in World War I and who even then was a bizarre mixture of efficiency and indolence. Decades later, in "those rare moments when he was not horizontal he would stalk about the farm buildings with great vigor, making pertinent remarks in his military voice and spreading consternation among the cows."

Ackerley stints no detail when it comes to the varieties of Tulip's urinary and anal experience. But he is concerned above all with the canine heart, and the perils of conception and whelping are at his book's center. Tulip's vita amorosa truly is a via dolorosa as she scorns and scants her aristocratic paramours. Finally, "this exquisite creature in the midst of her desire" hears of the call of-- But we shall reveal no more! My Dog Tulip should instantly make its way onto the shelves of lovers of fine dogs (of whichever bloodlines) and finer literature--and doesn't that cover most of humanity? --Kerry Fried

About the Author:

J. R. Ackerley (1896–1967) was for many years the literary editor of the BBC magazine The Listener. His works include three memoirs, Hindoo Holiday, My Dog Tulip, and My Father and Myself, and a novel, We Think The World of You (all available as New York Review Books).
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’s most recent books are The Hidden Life of DogsThe Social Lives of Dogs: The Grace of Canine Company, and Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780940322110: My Dog Tulip (New York Review Books Classics)

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