Happy Friday! This week absolutely flew by for me. I’ve been working on a project for the Staff Association I’m a part of, and it has taken a lot of time and energy! The end of this project is in sight, so hopefully things will calm down a bit soon. I’m driving all over the county today to tie up some loose ends, and I really wanted to find a way to work that phrase into a pun about the book I’m reviewing today, but I can’t quite make it happen.
About the Book
Title: The Dog on the Acropolis
Author: Mark Tedescoe
Genre: Contemporary/Literary Fiction and Historical Fiction (alternating chapters)
Synopsis: A family living in Greece at the time of the construction of the Parthenon and another family, thousands of years later, eking out a living at the base of the Acropolis.
The repercussions of the meeting of man and dog would unfold in unforeseen ways that would impact the lives around them.
The narrative takes the reader to Greece’s Golden Age, in which one dog, Daria, would scamper up the hill to keep up with Adelino, a stone cutter working on the new temple, and his son Tiro. The lives of Pheidias, the architect of the Parthenon, Adelino and Diana his wife, as well as Tiro their son, would intersect in unexpected ways.
The story brings then brings the reader back into the present where past and present eventually coincide, transforming the lives of both canines and humans.
Content to be Aware of: Grief
Who doesn’t love a story about a dog, right? I’m a sucker for them, especially at this point in life when I am not able to have a dog of my own. With that in mind, it’s no wonder I was drawn to The Dog on the Acropolis. This is a dual-timeline story, with one story set during the building of the temple to Athena Nike on the Acropolis, and the other in the same location during modern time. The mechanism of telling both stories is a bit shaky, but I’ll take it. At night, the dog in the modern timeline, Draco, dreams about the life of one of his ancestors. This ancestor is Daria, who belongs to the family of one of the craftsmen working on the temple. Draco, on the other hand, “belongs” to everyone and no one. He makes friends with many of the people who live around the Acropolis, and there is one family who take him in, but he always finds his way back to the Acropolis. Draco has an indomitable spirit and does everything he can to help his friends, while retaining his inherent dog-ness. Although he is a key character, he is not entirely humanized. Tedescoe does a wonderful job allowing the reader to get to know Draco without granting him unrealistic qualities like telepathy or speech.
There isn’t a lot of action, although Draco, Daria, and their families and friends always have something happening in their busy lives. For the most part, The Dog on the Acropolis is an examination of family. It’s a celebration of thinking of others more than yourself, helping out whenever possible, and still pursuing your dreams. It’s also about the emotional connection that can connect a man and his dog, and the spiritual ramifications of grief and disappointment. This book examines several serious topics in such a way that, if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss it. It’s interesting from an existential/philosophical standpoint, and the story also stands on its own, as long as you don’t expect high levels of action and suspense.
Although I hate the ending, I accept it and I won’t spoil it here. I am glad I read this book, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys books about dogs, slice-of-life fiction, and dual timelines. There may not be a lot of excitement in the story itself, but I still got a lot out of reading The Dog on the Acropolis.
How are you finishing your week? If you happen to think about it, say a prayer for traffic and the highway for me today! I appreciate the opportunity to see more of the libraries and meet more people, but this is getting to be a bit much! But I’m sure it will go well.
Let’s talk about it in the comments: what do you think of dual-timeline books? Do they usually work? Is one timeline typically stronger than the other?
Until the next chapter,