THE LAST FAMILY IN ENGLAND BY MATT HAIG
VINTAGE (PAPERBACK), 2004
I’ve decided to take part in the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015 (http://www.popsugar.com/love/Reading-Challenge-2015-36071458). I thought it would be a fun and something a bit different. Some options will be easy to find a book for and others will require a bit more digging.
This is my first book for the challenge. The category is ‘a book with nonhuman characters’.
I chose this book for the category because I’d just finished reading it when I decided to do the challenge. I thought I might struggle to find something else for the category so it seemed like a good idea to include this book.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Meet the Hunter family: Adam, Kate, and their children Hal and Charlotte. And Prince, their black Labrador.
Prince is an earnest young dog, striving hard to live up to the tenets of the Labrador Pact (Remain Loyal to Your Human Masters, Serve and Protect Your Family at Any Cost). Other dogs, led by the Springer Spaniels, have revolted. Their slogans are ‘Dogs for Dogs, not for Humans’ and ‘Pleasure not Duty’. Mentored by an elderly Labrador called Henry, Prince takes his responsibilities seriously, and as things in the Hunter family begin to go badly awry – marital breakdown, rowdy teenage parties, attempted suicide – his responsibilities threaten to overwhelm him. And down in the park it’s even worse: Henry has disappeared; Falstaff the Springer Spaniel wants to lead Prince astray; Joyce the Irish wolfhound has been murdered. In the end Prince is forced to break the Labrador Pact and take desperate action to save his Family.
Dogs like to talk.
We are talking all the time, non-stop. To each other, to humans, to ourselves. Talk, talk, talk. Of course, we do not talk like humans. We do not open our mouths and say things the way humans do. We cannot. We see the harm this causes. We know words, we understand everything, we have language, but our language is one which is continuous, one which does not stop when we decide to close our jaws. During every sniff, every bark, ever crotch nuzzle, every spray of a lamppost we are speaking our minds.
Welcome to my first post of 2015.
I’ve wanted to read more of Matt Haig since I read his brilliant novel, The Humans last year. One of the best novels I read in 2014.
I loved The Last Family in England. This novel is told, uniquely so from the point of view of a black Labrador called Prince. I loved this odd, unusual perspective. This book is funny, emotional and strange and definitely a bit different. I found Prince’s take fascinating as he attempts to work out why his family is in crisis and how he can use his powers to save them. This novel has the perfect combination of light and dark. There are many light-hearted and funny moments. Prince is led astray by a Spinger called Falstaff to pleasure sniff and gets high. There are also some dark moments such as when Charlotte, the daughter of Prince’s family tries to commit suicide. The novel gradually gets darker and darker. I thought the ending is one of the saddest moments I’ve ever read. I shed my first tears in 2015 over a book. Matt Haig is another author I want to read more of. If The Humans and The Last Family In England are anything to go by I’m in for a treat.