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Publisher's Summary

When his wife dies in a fall from a tree in their backyard, linguist Paul Iverson is wild with despair. In the days that follow, Paul becomes certain that Lexy's death was no accident. Strange clues have been left behind: unique, personal messages that only she could have left and that he is determined to decipher.

So begins Paul's fantastic and even perilous search for the truth, as he abandons his everyday life to embark on a series of experiments designed to teach his dog Lorelei to communicate. Is this the project of a madman? Or does Lorelei really have something to tell him about the last afternoon of a woman he only thought he knew?

At the same time, Paul obsessively recalls the early days of his love for Lexy and the ups and downs of life with the brilliant, sometimes unsettling woman who became his wife.

©2003 Carolyn Parkhurst; (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks, A division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group.

Critic Reviews

"A wonderfully original and richly imaginative novel." (Kermit Moyer, author of Tumbling)
"The brilliance...lies in the subtle buildup of emotion...and how powerfully that emotional wave hits...An unforgettable debut." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Back-story excellent, present story mediocre

The format of this story involves a lot of flashbacks to the main character's past with his wife with splashes of the present thrown in to advance the storyline.

Unfortunately, the actual storyline is not that interesting and I found myself growing anxious waiting to get back to the flashbacks. The flashbacks are wonderful. They are well written and well executed by the narrator.

Just for the flashbacks/backstory, it's well worth listening to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marian
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 11-29-04

Like a slow motion train wreck

This book was a real "page turner". I honestly had trouble turning my audible player off. The narration was excellent; haunting and pensive, sad and gripping. Great storytelling. Definately recommended.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Blythe
  • Longmont, CO, USA
  • 12-17-06

Mixed feelings

I both loved and hated this book. The writing and narration are both superb, and the plot, overall, is compelling. I agree with the reader below, who feels that some events in the second half can stretch patience and credibility. And, by the time we get to the ending, it seems a little rushed and pat. Also, I'm with the dog lover below who found some scenes to be almost unbearably painful. But, all in all, I guess I recommend it. . .it does provide some fascinating observations of psychological dynamics, and it is compelling enough to keep one listening, even if with a bit of frustration at times. (How's that for a mixed feelings review. . .?)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michelle
  • Newport Beach, CA, USA
  • 10-20-04

Very Unique

I really enjoyed this book. I found it suspensful and interesting. This was my very first book on tape and wow-what a way to start!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Donna
  • Derry, NH, USA
  • 10-25-05


I had to finish this book To see if somehow there was good coming out of it. I was greatly disappointed. The reader was fantastic, brings you right into the lives of the characters, so much so I needed tissue, after tissue and it exhausted me. If you've ever had a loved one commit suicide, the book is even worse. Being a dog lover, the tragic happenings of the dog is depressing.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • P. Chavez
  • Huntington Beach, CA USA
  • 08-10-05

The Dogs of Babel

Yes, this book is well written, well read and interesting (maybe "different" would be a better word), but I just didn't like the story. I couldn't wait for it to be over. Unfortunately, I listened to it while on vacation, relaxing by an ocean. This is not vacation book material.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Larbi
  • Glen Ridge, NJ, USA
  • 10-01-06

Good reader, so-so novel

The narration for this novel is excellent but the story itself is less successful. Although the book starts out beautifully written and with great insight into character, the plot goes awry and becomes unbelievable. The twists of the plot began to make me frustrated as the author forced well-drawn characters to do stupid things whose motivation is in no way accounted for by the story. If the narrator had not been so great, I would never have been able to finish the book--I wanted to stop listening after a while, but because it was still on my iPod I ended up finishing it while captive on an exercising machine. But I cannot recommend the second half of the book, though the first half was very promising. Again, the narrator was great.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gina
  • Elmhurst, Il, United States
  • 01-19-06

Animal precinct meets time traveler’s wife

I think the people who gave this book critical acclaim didn’t finish the book. There were chapters I wanted to end, to put me and the characters out of their misery. Good beginning, satisfactory ending. Could have skipped a couple of unbelievable and unforgettable chapters in the middle.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Best Book Ever

I read this book a few years ago and it struck such emotion from me that my husband was befuddled. So he read it too and still didn't quite understand. Now as I sat and listened again it had the same effect. I suppose if it's possible to have a soul book, this is mine. I will always have it near.

  • Overall


I only downloaded this book two days ago and found that from the moment I started it, I was unable to do anything else BUT listen. It was very easy to follow and the author did a wonderful job of drawing you into this widowers life. I felt that the narrator was easy to listen to and made the various characters very real. I could relate to Paul despite the fact that I have never lost a loved one. I loved the way you "discovered" Lexi through the eyes of Paul. A very good story!