Afterglow A dog memoir

Eileen Myles

Book - 2017

The author writes an account of their relationship with their pit bull Rosie. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie's death, the author launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet owner.

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New York, NY : Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic 2017.
First edition
Physical Description
210 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Main Author
Eileen Myles (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* For more than 16 years, Myles was companioned by a pit bull named Rosie until Rosie did what dogs do and left the author to navigate a post-Rosie world, solo. In the after of Rosie, poet Myles, the author of more than 20 books, including the novels Chelsea Girls (1994) and Cool for You (2000), writes this unconventional, uncontainable, phantasmagoric memoir of dog and owner. To let Rosie herself tell it, "Afterglow is totally a book with legs (four if I can be dumb) so it will go a lot further than your earlier Eileen-based fictions." Here are small moments and large ones, like actual transcriptions of memories; here's Rosie as author, Rosie interviewed on a puppet talk show, Rosie as god, Rosie as Myles' father. Myles catalogs Rosie-related objects and chronicles the seeking of an ancestral home in Ireland and reading science fiction in San Diego during Rosie's last summer. Poetic, heartrending, soothing, and funny, this is a mind-expanding contemplation of creation, the act and the noun, and the creatures whose deaths we presume will precede ours but whose lives make our own better beyond reason. To this, readers should bring tissues, pencil and paper, even their dogs. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A "kick-ass counter-cultural icon" (The New Yorker) with 20 books and a stack of awards to her name, Myles goes heartfelt with an account of a pit bull named Rosie she kept by her side for 16 years. Mourning Rosie's death, Myles recounts how Rosie has shaped her life and work—more than just saving her, as the tagline usually goes, but making her who she is. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Myles—poet, novelist, feminist presidential candidate, professor, librettist, nonfiction writer, inspiration for the lesbian poet character Leslie Mackinaw on the show Transparent, and Guggenheim fellow—has written a love letter to her beloved pit bull Rosie. Myles's phantasmagoric account of her 16 years with Rosie—and many years without her—includes not only a sorrowful retelling of decline and illness but also a recital of the facts of Rosie's first mating, in the nerve-wracking chapter "The Rape of Rosie," as well as various imaginings of Rosie's thoughts (not to mention her remarks as a talk show guest). Myles wanders through complicated family relationships, a history of alcoholism, and her credo of writing on her way to delivering a singular portrait of Rosie. Readers in search of an anodyne for their grief will find it buried deep in the midst of her swirling prose. VERDICT Myles succeeds here in producing a rare new breed of dog memoir: think Patti Smith's Just Kids, not John Grogan's Marley and Me, absinthe not saccharine. [See Prepub Alert, 5/3/17.]—Therese Purcell Nielsen, Huntington P.L., NY Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Poet and novelist Myles (Inferno) reflects on 16 years with their pit bull Rosie. Inspired by Rosie's death, Myles uses a pastiche approach to explore the bodily, cerebral, and esoteric/religious aspects of the grieving process, all of which is portrayed with meditative poignancy. The feeling of watching a beloved pet's decline is rendered bittersweet: "Our present had a pastness to it every day." There is humor, as the author recalls a fruitless attempt to breed Rosie ("I wondered if I was doing something illegal. Letting dogs have sex in my building"). There's a chapter written as the transcript of a surrealist puppet show, wherein Rosie informs the audience that she has been writing Myles's material since 1990. Myles also brings Hitler's art, 14th-century tapestries, and Abu Ghraib into the narrative, and writes in the voice of Bo Jean Harmonica, an alter ego of sorts whose gender is categorized pithily: "I'm a man but there's a woman in it." Though there are occasional meandering thematic digressions, these seem a part of the journey. Myles depicts the raw pathos of loss with keen insight. (Sept.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Exposing the nature of the bond between pet and owner, the author details the highs and lows of the sixteen years she spend with her late dog, Rosie.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The trailblazing writer, after the death of her beloved dog, Rosie, details their 16 years together, during which there were many personal highs and lows, in a heartfelt investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet owner, and a many-hued portrait of a beloved confidante.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Prolific and widely renowned, Eileen Myles is a trailblazer whose decades of literary and artistic work “set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match” (New York Review of Books). This newest book paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a beloved confidant: the pit bull called Rosie.In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and their connection instantly became central to the writer’s life and work. During the course of their sixteen years together, Myles was madly devoted to the dog’s wellbeing, especially in her final days. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie’s death, Afterglow (a dog memoir) launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, as well as the fantastical myths we spin to get to the heart of grief.Moving from an imaginary talk show where Rosie is interviewed by Myles’s childhood puppet to a critical reenactment of the night Rosie mated with another pit bull, from lyrical transcriptions of their walks to Rosie’s enlightened narration from the afterlife, Afterglow (a dog memoir) illuminates all that it can mean when we dedicate our existence to a dog.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Eileen Myles—“a kick-ass counter-cultural icon” (New Yorker)—has written an innovative and intimate account of living with a pit bull named Rosie