Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Why I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

The narrator--a dog--is named Enzo, after Enzo Ferrari.  Enzo's owner, Denny, drives a BMW 3.0 CSi, one of the greatest and most attractive vehicles ever to come from BMW and indeed the world.  Denny works at a German automobile repair shop and in his spare time races touring cars.  Enzo's favorite movie is Le Mans, a movie about the 24-hour endurance race of the same name, starring Steve McQueen, coincidentally also Enzo's favorite actor.

So, yeah, with all that flotsam and jetsam, the book is off to a pretty good start.  Dog, racing, BMW.  Winning combo.

But it's so much more than that.  Allow me to explain a little with one of the last paragraphs.  It's no spoiler, but it does explain the point of the novel, so stop here if you really want to be surprised.

I know this much about racing in the rain. I know it is about balance.  It is about anticipation and patience. I know all of the driving skills that are necessary for one to be successful in the rain.  But racing in the rain is also about the mind! It is about owning one's body. About believing that one's car is merely an extension of one's body.  About believing that the track is an extension of the car, and the rain is an extension of the track, and the sky is an extension of the rain. It is about believing that you are not you; you are everything. And everything is you. (314)

I'm not usually into all this existential crap. I actually kind of hate it in a big way for its vagueness. But there's absolutely no denying the truth of that last paragraph.  Anyone who has ever driven, let alone raced, in rain knows it's true.  Balance, patience, and presence of mind are required for safe and successful driving.  Why then should it be any different for anything else?

So much that I want to tell.  But I also don't want to spoil the book.  Just know that it is so much more than cars and racing and dogs.  It's a great story and I loved reading it.  Now, I'm a little depressed that I have to find another book to read.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this book. Just "read" it (listened to it) this week while feeding Noah. I couldn't stop listening! Excellent!


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