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The Dog par [O'Neill, Joseph]
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Perhaps because of my growing sense of the inefficiency of life lived on land and in air, of my growing sense that the accumulation of experience amounts, when all is said and done and pondered, simply to extra weight, so that one ends up dragging oneself around as if imprisoned in one of those Winnie the Pooh suits of explorers of the deep, I took up diving. As might be expected, this decision initially aggravated the problem of inefficiency. There was the bungling associated with a new endeavor, and there was the exhaustion brought on by over-watching the films of Jacques Cousteau. And yet, once I’d completed advanced scuba training and a Fish Identification Course and I began to dive properly and in fact at every opportunity, I learned that the undersea world may be nearly a pure substitute for the world from which one enters it. I cannot help pointing out that this substitution has the effect of limiting what might be termed the biographical import of life—the momentousness to which one’s every drawing of breath seems damned. To be, almost without metaphor, a fish in water: what liberation.
I loved to dive at Musandam. Without fail my buddy was Ollie Christakos, who is from Cootamundra, Australia. One morning, out by one of the islands, we followed a wall at a depth of forty feet. At the tip of the island were strong currents, and once we had passed through these I looked up and saw an immense moth, it seemed for a moment, hurrying in the open water above. It was a remarkable thing, and I turned to alert Ollie. He was preoccupied. He was pointing beneath us, farther down the wall, into green and purple abyssal water. I looked: there was nothing there. With very uncharacteristic agitation, Ollie kept pointing, and again I looked and saw nothing. On the speedboat, I told him about the eagle ray. He stated that he’d spotted something a lot better than an eagle ray and that very frankly he was a little bit disappointed I wasn’t able to verify it. Ollie said, “I saw the Man from Atlantis.”
This was how I first heard of Ted Wilson—as the Man from Atlantis. The nickname derived from the seventies TV drama of that name. It starred Patrick Duffy as the lone survivor from a ruined underwater civilization, who becomes involved in various adventures in which he puts to good use his inordinate aquatic powers. From my childhood I retained only this memory of Man from Atlantis: its amphibious hero propelled himself through the liquid element not with his arms, which remained at his sides, but by a forceful undulation of his trunk and legs. It was not suggested by anybody that Wilson was a superman. But it was said that Wilson spent more time below the surface of water than above, that he always went out alone, and that his preference was for dives, including night-time dives, way too risky for a solo diver. It was said that he wore a wet suit the coloring of which—olive green with faint swirls of pale green, dark green, and yellow—made him all but invisible in and around the reefs, where, of course, hide-and-seek is the mortal way of things. Among the more fanatical local divers an underwater sighting of Wilson was grounds for sending an e-mail to interested parties setting out all relevant details of the event, and some jester briefly put up a webpage with a chart on which corroborated sightings would be represented by a grinning emoticon and uncorroborated ones by an emoticon with an iffy expression. Whatever. People will do anything to keep busy. Who knows if the chart, which in my opinion constituted a hounding, had any factual basis: it is perhaps needless to bring up that the Man from Atlantis and his motives gave rise to a lot of speculation and mere opinion, and that accordingly it is difficult, especially in light of the other things that were said about him, to be confident about the actual rather than the fabulous extent of Wilson’s undersea life; but there seems no question he spent unusual amounts of time underwater.
I must be careful, here, to separate myself distinctly from the milling of this man, Wilson, by rumor. It’s one thing to offer intrusive conjecture about a person’s recreational activities, another thing to place a person into a machine for grinding by crushing. This happened to Ted Wilson. He was discussed into dust. That’s Dubai, I suppose—a country of buzz. Maybe the secrecy of the Ruler precludes any other state of affairs, and maybe not. There is no question that spreading everywhere in the emirate are opacities that, since we are on the subject, call to my mind submarine depths. And so the place makes gossips of us whether we like it or not, and makes us susceptible to gullibility and false shrewdness. I’m not sure there is a good way to counteract this; it may even be that there arrives a moment when the veteran of the never-ending struggle for solid facts perversely becomes greener than ever. Not long ago, I heard a story about a Tasmanian tiger for sale in Satwa and half-believed it.
Ted Wilson, it turned out, had an apartment in The Situation—the apartment building where I live. His place was on the twentieth floor, two above mine. Our interaction consisted of hellos in the elevator. Then, plunging or rising, we would study the Egyptian hieroglyphs inscribed on the stainless steel sides of the car. These encounters reduced almost to nothing my curiosity about him. Wilson was a man in his forties of average height and weight, with a mostly bald head. He had the kind of face that seems to me purely Anglo-Saxon, that is, drained of all color and features, and perhaps in reaction to this drainage he was, as I noticed, a man who fiddled at growing gray-blond goatees, beards, mustaches, sideburns. There was no sign of gills or webbed fingers.
The striking thing about him was his American accent. Few Americans move here, the usual explanation being that we must pay federal taxes on worldwide income and will benefit relatively little from the fiscal advantages the United Arab Emirates offers its denizens. This theory is, I think, only partly right. A further fraction of the answer must be that the typical American candidate for expatriation to the Gulf, who might without disparagement be described as the mediocre office worker, has little instinct for emigration. To put it another way, a person usually needs a special incentive to be here—or, perhaps more accurately, to not be elsewhere—and surely this is all the more true for the American who, rather than trying his luck in California or Texas or New York, chooses to come to this strange desert metropolis. Either way, fortune will play its expected role. I suppose I say all this from experience.
In early 2007, in a New York City cloakroom, I ran into a college friend, Edmond Batros. I hadn’t thought about Eddie in years, and of course it was difficult to equate without shock this thirty-seven-year-old with his counterpart in memory. Whereas in college he’d been a chubby Lebanese kid who seemed dumbstruck by a pint of beer and whom everyone felt a little sorry for, grown-up Eddie gave every sign—pink shirt unbuttoned to the breastbone, suntan, glimmering female companion, twenty-buck tip to the coat-check girl—of being a brazenly contented man of the world. If he hadn’t approached me and identified himself, I wouldn’t have known him. We hugged, and there was a to-do about the wonderful improbability of it all. Eddie was only briefly in town and we agreed to meet the next day for dinner at Asia de Cuba. It was there, by the supposedly holographic waterfall, that we reminisced about the year we lived in a Dublin house occupied by college students who had in common only that we were not Irish: aside from me and Eddie, there was a Belgian and an Englishman and a Greek. Eddie and I were not by any stretch great pals but we had as an adventitious link the French language: I spoke it because of my francophone Swiss mother, Eddie because he’d grown up in that multilingual Lebanese way, speaking fluent if slightly alien versions of French, English, and Arabic. In Ireland we’d mutter asides to each other in French and feel that this betokened something important. I had no idea his family was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Now he ordered one drink after another. Like a couple of old actuaries, we could not avoid surveying the various outcomes that long-lost friends or near-friends had met with. Eddie, with his Facebook account, was much more up to speed than I. From him I learned that one poor soul had had two autistic children, and that another had intentionally fallen into traffic from an overpass near Dublin airport. As he talked, I was confronted with a strangely painful idiosyncratic memory—how, during the rugby season, a vast, chaotic crowd periodically filled the street on which our house was situated and, seemingly by a miracle of arithmetic, went without residue into the stadium at the top of the road, a fateful mass subtraction that would make me think, with my youngster’s lavish melancholy, of our species’ brave collective merriness in the face of death. Out of the stadium came from time to time the famous Irish refrain

Alive, alive-o
Alive, alive-o.

Obviously, I did not share this flashback with Eddie.
He removed a pair of sunglasses from his breast pocket and very ceremoniously put them on.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. The young Eddie had ridiculously worn these very shades at all times, even indoors. He was one of those guys for whom Top Gun was a big movie.
Eddie said, “Oh yes, I’m still rocking the Aviators.” He said, “Remember that standoff with the statistics professor?”
I remembered. This man had forbidden Eddie from wearing shades to his lectures. The interdiction had crushed Eddie. His shades were fitted with lenses for his myopia; having to wear regular spectacles would have destroyed him. I advised him, “He can fuck himself. You do your thing. It’s a free world.”
“He’s a total bastard. He’ll throw me out of the class.”
I said, “Let him! You want to wear shades, wear shades. What’s he saying—he gets to decide what you wear? Eddie, sometimes you’ve got to draw a line in the sand.”
Line in the sand? What was I talking about? What did I know about lines in the sand?
Young Eddie declared, “Je vous ai compris!” He persisted in wearing his sunglasses. The lecturer did nothing about it.
“That was a real lesson,” Eddie told me at Asia de Cuba. “Fight them on the beaches. Fight them on the landing grounds.” Removing the Ray-Bans—he preserved them as a talisman now, and had a collection of hundreds of tinted bifocals for day-to-day use; on his travels he personally hand-carried his shades in a customized photographer’s briefcase—Eddie told me that he’d taken over from his father the running of various Batros enterprises. In return I told him a little about my own situation. Either I was more revealing than I’d thought or Eddie Batros was now something of a psychologist, because soon afterward he wrote to me with a job offer. He stated that he’d wanted for some time to appoint a Batros family trustee (“to keep an eye on our holdings, trusts, investment portfolios, etc.”) but had not found a qualified person who both was ready to move to Dubai (where the Batros Group and indeed some Batros family members were nominally headquartered) and enjoyed, as such a person by definition had to, the family’s “limitless trust.” “Hoping against hope,” as he put it, he wondered if I might be open to considering the position. His e-mail asserted,

I know of no more honest man than you.

There was no reasonable basis for this statement, but I was moved by it—for a moment I wept a little, in fact. I wrote back expressing my interest. Eddie answered,

OK. You will have to meet Sandro then decide. He will get in touch with you soon.

Sandro was the older of the two Batros brothers. I’d never met him.
Right away I came up with a plan. The plan was to fly New York-[Dubai]. This is to say, I had no interest in Dubai qua Dubai. My interest was in getting out of New York. If Eddie’s job had been in Djibouti, the plan would have been to fly New York-[Djibouti].

Revue de presse

Praise for The Dog

One of Publishers Weekly Top Ten Books of 2014

"The Dog is a brilliant satire . . . [O'Neill] has a fabulous ear for language, as good as nearly anyone in American Literature."--John Freeman, The Bostion Globe

"Every page of The Dog is a little masterpiece of comedy, erudition and linguistic acrobatics."--The Washington Post

"A fine, complex portrait of a modern-day soul in despair."--

"The Dog is an amusing, wry, pleasingly odd work of burnished prose and careful emotional spelunking driven by first-person voice and character and setting, which is Dubai. O'Neill gives [protagonist] X the verbal facility of a really smart lawyer and the self-awareness of a David Foster Wallace character. . . this verbosity is wonderfully light-footed and funny, and frequently poignant."--Ed Taylor, Buffalo News

This novel is often wonderfully droll, especially in its portrayal of the oddities of a city whose 'mission is to make itself indistinguishable from its airport.' Also, always amusing are the protagonist's mentally composed emails, never-to-be-sent missives in which he lists all of his grievances like an office-computer version of Saul Bellow's Herzog."--Keither Stasklewicz, Entertainment Weekly

“With consummate elegance, The Dog turns in on itself in imitation of the dreadful circling and futility of consciousness itself. Its subplots go nowhere, as in life. But, unlike life, its wit and brio keep us temporarily more alive than we usually allow ourselves to be.”––Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review
“An interesting moral complexity. . . makes [The Dog] more than a comic novel. The writing is brisk and funny, but O'Neill is also exploring deep questions about ethics and happiness in a globalized age of instant information and economic inequality. His narrator is a fascinating creation: charming and repugnant, selfless and self-absorbed, erudite and steeped in popular culture.”––Nick Romeo, The Chicago Tribune
“We’ve been waiting six years for a new book by Joseph O’Neill, after the spectacular Netherland, and it’s finally here. The Dog takes readers on a comical and philosophical journey to Dubai.”––Time Out New York
“A humorous meditation on the dialects of attention and distraction in the modern world, O’Neill’s work playfully skewers the global economy of consumption and our abstract notions of responsibility in its perpetuation.—Joshua Finnell, Library Journal (starred review)

“Shades of Kafka and Conrad permeate O’Neill’s thoughtful modern fable of exile, a sad story that comments darkly on the human condition and refuses bravely to trade on the success of Netherland.”––Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Pitch-perfect prose . . . Clever, witty, and profoundly insightful, this is a beautifully crafted narrative about a man undone by a soulless society.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

Praise for Netherland
“Stunning . . . with echoes of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s masterpiece . . . A resonant meditation on the American Dream.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Exquisitely written . . . A large fictional achievement, and one of the most remarkable post-colonial books I have ever read . . . Netherland has a deep human wisdom.” —James Wood, The New Yorker
“I devoured it in three thirsty gulps, gulps that satisfied a craving I didn’t know I had . . . It has more life inside it than ten very good novels.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
“Elegant . . . Always sensitive and intelligent, Netherland tells the fragmented story of a man in exile—from home, family, and, most poignantly, from himself.” —The Washington Post Book World

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1292 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 257 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0007275749
  • Editeur : Fourth Estate (25 juillet 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00J1XSFM2
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x96a59450) étoiles sur 5 107 commentaires
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96644438) étoiles sur 5 A masterpiece if ever I read one. 15 novembre 2014
Par Chris Green - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This one's easy. Read the first couple of pages. If you like it, you're gonna like this book. If not, not. The whole thing is built on this extraordinary voice, and almost certainly, your tolerance/enjoyment of that voice is going to dictate your response.

Me, I freaking loved this book, start to finish. Call me a sucker for the style--dense & chewy. The voice is alive inside your head, in the best of the Irish lit tradition. And the character himself... what a creation. You couldn't ask for a better pair of eyes through which to see Dubai, even though the guy, on some important level, can't see what's directly in front of him. The story consistently takes left turns, with endlessly surprising turns of phrase and turns of plot, and the end, when it comes, is both horrifying and in the weirdest way, cosmically just. Every few pages, there'd be some crazy descriptive leap that had me smiling, often outright laughing. I love this guy's voice more than enough to make me feel bad for him; even as he consistently finds ways to lose my respect, he never loses my ultimate sympathy. I don't know if that's to O'Neill's credit or my discredit or what, but it sure is something.

I think this book is beautifully wrought, every bit as astute and funny as the best of the existentialist canon. Kafka, Beckett, Camus and the Coen Bros are all favorable comps and spiritual cousins, close ones.

It would be nice if the cover wasn't so damn ugly. But that really is the only thing I didn't like about this book.

It's not for everybody. But if it's for you, it's a gem. Best book I've read in a long time.
38 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x966444a4) étoiles sur 5 Darkly hilarious 6 septembre 2014
Par Liat2768 - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
The Dog reads like a Coen Brothers movie. Think 'Fargo' where people do hideous things and yet the viewer/reader ends up laughing at the most awful things.

If you approach this novel looking for a hero, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Our hero here unselfconsciously narrates a nakedly self centered tale of neurotic narcissism and there are moments here that have you laughing but it is very much AT him and not with him.

Dubai is as self conscious and consciously designed a metropolis as is possible. Surrounded by obscene wealth and luxury our narrator is an acerbic and astute observer of the hypocrisy of life in Dubai. Is it possible to like him? I don't think so. Can you believe every single thing he says? Probably not. In tone and style the book reminds me quite a bit of Glen Duncan's novel 'I, Lucifer'.

It is, in the end, unrelieved in its bitter darkness and pessimistic outlook on life. While entertaining it is a discomfiting read at times. How much of the superficiality in our contemptible narrator is present inside us as well?

If you keep all of that in mind this is a darkly humorous and extremely intelligent novel that is well worth the read.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x966443e4) étoiles sur 5 “On paper, I am the hawk in the wind. Off paper, I am the mouse in the hole.” 15 novembre 2014
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Irish author Joseph O’Neill was born in Cork, Ireland, lived in Mozambique as a toddler, in Turkey (his mother’s place of birth) till he reached school age, and in Iran, the Netherlands, and England (where he attended college and then practiced law for ten years), before moving to New York City, where he has lived for the past fifteen years. Perceptive and particularly attuned to cultural differences and their ironies as a result of his own upbringing, O’Neill writes a darkly comic novel set in Dubai, creating an unnamed narrator whose real first name, never mentioned because he hates it, begins with the letter X. A lawyer who for nine years lived with Jenn, a co-worker, X is now single, with almost no resources, emotional or financial.

The breakup, coming as it did when he and Jenn were in their mid-thirties, was toxic, leaving him with few funds, no apartment, no friends among their mutual acquaintances, and virtually no prospects for a better life. Through a fluke, Eddie Batros, an acquaintance of X from college, offers him a job working for his impossibly wealthy family, which now lives in Dubai, just before that country’s economic collapse in 2009. Treated like a dog and completely ignored for months, X is supposed to manage the family’s law firm, their legal affairs and assets, their investment and tax strategies, their international concierge services, the Batros Foundation in Africa, and the family’s accounts on the Isle of Man, where they keep their stash of personal wealth.

A third plot thread concerns Ted Wilson, a deep sea diver, like X himself, who has suddenly gone missing. Referred to as “The Man from Atlantis,” Ted Wilson has been living in X’s apartment building, and any real or imagined sighting of him immediately appears on the internet social media and in e-mails. Much internet speculation arises about Ted Wilson’s life, both in and out of the water, along with questions about what this American has been doing in Dubai.

The author’s depiction of X and his life provides many scenes of fun, humor, and irreverence, but because X is sometimes hopelessly dense – and gullible – most readers will find it impossible to empathize with him on more than a superficial level when the expected complications “unexpectedly” intrude. At heart a good man, he is malleable and amenable to being grossly humiliated, as if he does not deserve better. Intelligent, he nevertheless trusts virtually everyone, seeking, perhaps for their friendship.

Filled with vibrant and revelatory scenes, this very funny novel unfortunately lacks a clear focus. Since this is also characteristic of X himself, the reader must rely on witty and insightful details for the novel’s compelling interest. While O’Neill excels at providing this kind of information, it may not be enough to maintain the interest of all readers. The wild and very clever conclusion does tie up the loose ends of this loose plot, satisfying those who have been absorbed in the wittiness of the writing and the insights into the unusual culture and lifestyles of Dubai, and for many of us that be will be enough. The novel provides unique, private glimpses of life in an emirate which rarely shows its private side.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96809cd8) étoiles sur 5 A very interesting, thought provoking and entertaining flow of consciousness novel. 17 août 2014
Par Larry - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
The unnamed narrator had a very bad breakup with his girlfriend in New York City. A very wealthy old friend of his gives him the opportunity to manage their family trust while living in Dubai. He seizes the opportunity to get away and, while there, struggles to maintain the trust. The book becomes more of a flow of consciousness with as he confronts life in Dubai while thinking and rationalizing about his past. Eventually the reader is given a very full account of the past relationship, which really wasn’t all that great to begin with. At times the novel is humorous and at times quite sad. This book is on the longlist for the Man Booker award. It is a worthwhile read- a literary story and not a rip roaring thriller.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9644a5a0) étoiles sur 5 I loved O'Neill's novel The Netherland but I did not enjoy ... 18 décembre 2014
Par Carmel - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I loved O'Neill's novel The Netherland but I did not enjoy The Dog.Set in Dubai, it has all the local colour: the long all you can eat and drink Friday lunches, the expat society, the racism, the wealth and the differences between the Dubai natives and everybody else. Yes, I know it was ironic and satirical but I hated the protagonist and I struggled to finish the novel.
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