Leon Rooke is a Canadian writer, he has written six novels, including Shakespeare's Dog, which won the Governor General's award, and A Good Baby, which was made into a feature film. He has written a number of plays and a whole host of short story collections. He also writes reviews for U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times.
Leon Rooke is one of Canada's preeminent fiction innovators, a master of the short form, and a literary godfather to scores of writers. Here, for the first time, is the quintessential selection of his best short fiction, culled from a prodigious career and 15 story collections. In these beautiful affecting stories, both bittersweet and hilarious, Rooke mines the rich and often turbulent field of domestic life, of relationships between men and women, and of the fragile dislocations of young children. Included are classics such as "The Birth Control King of Upper Volta", "The Women's Guide to Home Companionship" and "Early Obscenities in the Life of the World's Foremost Authority on Heidegger". Always fresh and original, these timeless stories push the boundaries of the traditional short story form. "Painting the Dog" is vintage Rooke: 17 highly original tales brimming with whimsy and wit, pain and poignancy, and the author's endlessly astonishing and electric imagination and riotous humour. Amazon
My favourite story in Painting the Dog is "A Bolt of White Cloth." The story is crafted as if it is poetry. It is completely unique and it captures the imagination. Some critics suggest that the bolt of white cloth represents happiness. That interpretation makes me smile. I like that vision.
When I first read "A Bolt of White Cloth," I saw the cloth in a different light. Interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, after all. Regardless, the story itself without any symbolic interpretation is beautiful and elegant, a definite must read.
The other stories in the book are also good. They're all well-written and beautiful.