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About the book
  • Published: 2 June 2008
  • ISBN: 9780224080910
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $34.99

Dog Years


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The story of the acclaimed poet’s time with his two beloved retrievers - and a poignant, perceptive meditation on life, death, and the nature of canine companionship.

Why do dogs speak so profoundly to our inner lives? When Mark Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he finds himself bringing home Beau, a large golden retriever, malnourished and in need of loving care, to join Arden, the black retriever. As Beau bounds back to life, the two dogs become Mark Doty’s companions, his solace, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days - their tenacity, loyalty and love inspiring him when all else fails.

Dog Years is a remarkable work: a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss. Mark Doty writes about the heart-wrenching vulnerability of dogs, the positive energy and joy they bring, and the gift they bear us of unconditional love. A book unlike any other, Mark Doty’s surprising meditation is radiantly unsentimental yet deeply affecting. Beautifully written, Dog Years is a classic in the making.

  • Pub date: 2 June 2008
  • ISBN: 9780224080910
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $34.99

About the Author

Mark Doty

The author of nine previous books of poetry and five books of prose, Mark Doty’s many honours include the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and T. S. Eliot Prize. He lives in New York.

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Praise for Dog Years

“Dog Years is about dogs, which is to say, it is about everything we cannot talk about. Although Mark Doty manages to write about what he calls "the unsayable" about our relationships with animals, and about unspeakable times of loss, Dog Years is not a dark book. It is illuminated from within by generous wonder.”

Louise Erdrich

“Dog Years shows both the abundant pleasures and unavoidable heartbreak of loving people, life, and especially dogs. As someone who is in love with a dog, I found this book to be an oracle of truth. For those who have yet to love a dog, it will be a revelation.”

Ann Patchett

“Mark Doty moves lyrically from the weight of a dog's head in one's hand to the enduring questions of religion, the soul, and connection. Evocative, compassionate, a love story both intimate and grand, this is a beautiful book.”

Amy Hempel

“A wounding yet arresting memoir about living with his dogs - simply sublime ”

Washington Post

“The beauty has a flooding effect that reverberates outward from the heart...Doty makes the unsayable sayable, bringing the ungraspable within our reach.”

Los Angeles Times


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