(alternative title: Bloomin’ Eck!)
Just this minute I finished reading Meg Rosoff´s There is no Dog and I had my breath taken away. I met Meg yesterday while I was volunteering at the Oxford Literary Festival. Meg was giving a talk about writing and creative habits.
She was so brilliantly funny in that dark, sharp way that only New Yorkers can be. While working for Felicity Bryan I’d worked on various projects related to Meg’s writing- she’s represented by Catherine Clarke (one of our agents). I was most familiar with Rosoff’s famous book, How I live now, but during her talk she drolly drawled that it wasn’t her personal favourite. I chose Meg’s own favourite : There is No Dog.
I can see why she likes it.
In There is No Dog, God is a greasy, self-centred, lazy and effortlessly attractive. His name is Bob.
“God created the earth in 6 days. No wonder its such a mess”
God was given the job of creating and presiding over earth simply because nobody else was willing to do it. With sporadic flair and no grand design in mind, Bob created our planet and fashioned the plants and creatures that people it…then lost interest entirely. Watched over by his jaded and cynical assistant, Mr. B., Bob considers his masterpiece with little more than apathy.
Bob is like an old pantheon god- full of flaws- but without the nobility, without Thor’s stateliness. He is as petty as a child too- petulant with his mother and even cruel to his pet- the odd hapless ‘Eck’ creature- described as a greedy little cross between a penguin and an anteater.
Bob, like any typical teenage boy, has eyes only for beautiful women- and he falls in love with all the lust and passionate abandon of a teenager. Unfortunately, this rarely bodes well for the girl herself, or for the planet- which is intricately linked with God’s state of mind and bodily processes.
The plot follows Bob’s chase of Lucy- the world’s most beautiful woman- and is as beguiling and strange as it sounds.
Rosoff toys with classic philosophy- twirling Voltaire’s assertions that God is a remote and uncaring around Jung’s idea that The Creator might be nuts.
There is No Dog is as witty as the title suggests- it balances its humour with a philosophical edge so sharp, so brilliant it makes you dizzy.
Bob is infuriating, but so is the voluptuous, clueless Lucy (I don’t think anyone has walked around as naive as Lucy since creation itself). For me, Bob looked like Harry Styles.
Mr. B and Bob’s mother are distant and flawed too. The only character to escape this scathing, lopsided mythology might be the Eck- a creation I wish Bob had included in the wider world.
The Eck, like There is No Dog as a whole, is packed with character, quality and ambition- unsurprising coming from an author willing to create the creator and take him to task.
Ps. You can buy your very own Eck right here! Go GO GO!:
And here’s my pinterest board for the book! Enjoy: