BETWEEN A WOLF AND A DOG
Scribe $29.99 pb, 272 pp, 9781925321111
Between a Wolf and a Dog is Georgia Blain's eighth book: it follows five previous novels, an acclaimed short-story collection (The Secret Lives of Men, 2013) and Births, Deaths, Marriages (2008), a sublime memoir-in-essays. Blain has an affinity for domestic realism with a dark edge and an unstinting eye: she is fascinated by the faultlines in relationships and the turning points in individual lives that are more visible in retrospect than in the moment. She is also good at social context, weaving the details that reflect our times into the fabric of her characters and stories.
While there was much to admire in Too Close to Home (2011), Blain's most recent adult novel, something about its structure felt unfinished, with its themes perhaps too self-conscious. Between a Wolf and a Dog is notable for its polish: structurally and stylistically this novel proceeds with quiet assurance. Apparently, Blain wrote the novel years ago, put it away, then returned to it. This combination of distance and revision have paid off.