4 days ago
Thursday, December 16, 2010
review of Mr. Chartwell
by Rebecca Hunt
Pub date February 22, 2011
First of all, I have to say that the cover of this book is the best I've seen of the 2011 titles. I love it so much that I asked our Random House rep to procure me a poster to hang in the store and then my apartment.
Mr. Chartwell is the "bete noir" that Winston Churchill sometimes referenced when speaking of his depression. Named after Churchill's estate, Mr. Chartwell shows up at Esther Hammerhans's front door one day to inquire about renting a room. She lets him in and her relationship with the black dog begins.
This book is charmingly odd from beginning to end, as are most books in which the main character is a large talking dog. The dialogue between Mr. Chartwell and the other characters is brilliant. It is half spoken and half conducted via the strange, familiar, and often disgusting behavior of a misbehaving dog. I found myself liking every character in this book, even ones I didn't necessarily want to like. They're so real that you can't judge them too harshly for their faults.
All the quaint and comfortable parts of life are drawn in perfect detail in this book. Rebecca Hunt is the kind of author that the lovechild of Nick Hornby and Maggie O'Farrell might be.
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