Paul Iverson returns home one day to find his wife Lexy is dead. She fell out of the big apple tree in the back yard. The only witness to her mysterious death is their dog, Lorelei. Paul is consumed with finding the reason behind Lexy's death. Was it an accident or suicide?
The Dogs of Babel follows Paul through his mourning fog. He's a linguistics professor who thinks he can find an answer to the tragedy by teaching Lorelei to speak.
Carolyn Parkhurst's debut novel is divided between the early days of Paul and Lexy's romance and the present. The moments back in time introduce readers to Lexy. She was an artist who specialized in painting masks.
The story stalls a bit in the present day portion. Paul's attempt to teach his dog to talk wanes in the middle of the tale. He ends up interacting with a secret group in bizarre animal cruelty scenes that don't connect well with Lexy's death.
Fortunately, The Dogs of Babel recovers to regain reader interest. Paul learns to accept the hand he was dealt. Readers get a clear picture of the emotionally complex Lexy. Descriptions of her artwork add depth to her character and story.
Carolyn Parkhurst's first novel is quite compelling. The range of emotions explored makes The Dogs of Babel an ideal discussion group subject as well.