Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Coyote's In The House, by Elmore Leonard

This is Elmore Leonard's first book for young adults. Amazingly, Leonard has decided to take up this new job at the age of 80!

I don't know much at all about Elmore Leonard's novels, only that a few have been made into movies, but after reading A Coyote's In The House I'd be tempted to try his other work.

The novel tells the story of Antwan, a wild coyote who makes friends with a domestic dog named Buddy. Buddy is not only domesticated, but is also a middle aged ( in dog years that is) movie star who hasn't worked for a while. The two decide to try out each other's life styles. Antwan experiments with life amongst humans and Buddy gives it a go out in the wild. Other characters include Miss Betty, a well groomed poodle, Lola, a Persian cat, Cicero the crow and Ramona, Antwan's young sister.

The characters are all well drawn, and the writing is nice, clear and sparse. But the novel's end left me a little sad, as the story doesn't shirk the cruelties of life, or dog/animal life rather. When Antwan runs off because he hears a rabbit and wants to eat it, his friends worry that it may be a trap being set up by human hunters. They hear gunshots go off and speculate (hopefully) that Antwan is alright and that they'll be able to see him soon. Yet you can't help but know in your heart that this is the most futile optimism. Antwan has ended up the game he so often sought and relished.

A strangely melancholy tale about the realities of life. If any major studio ever took it up as a movie you can be sure they'd be re-writing the pain and suffering out of the ending.

Worth a read, certainly better than a lot of new adult fiction.

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