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Authors: Damian Tarnopolsky

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Travel, #Canada, #Ontario

Goya'S Dog

BOOK: Goya'S Dog
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Praise for
Goya's Dog

“Sarcastic, self-destructive, yet strangely endearing, Edward Dacres is the best kind of anti-hero—the kind you can't forget. Who'd have thought a book about art and Toronto would be a page-turner? And yet it is, as we watch, riveted, to see if Dacres is going to fail or succeed. In crystalline prose, and with affectionate satire, Tarnopolsky deftly leads the reader forward, and twists this tale of a down-and-out British painter into a glorious celebration of life's simpler beauties.”

—Miguel Syjuco, author of

“Because it's always saying something about the here and now, historical fiction with a satirical edge can sometimes wickedly reveal how little things can change … Tarnopolsky makes much black humour of [protagonist] Dacres's excruciating ways … Finely wrought.”

The Globe and Mail

“Clever, achingly funny, perfectly calibrated, in that terrain between the farcical and the poignant—I read it in a day.”

Joan Thomas, author of
Reading by Lightning

“Tarnopolsky displays great command over Dacres's character, slowly revealing the tragedy that turned him into a misanthrope even while dramatizing the ways in which he alienates the people who cross paths with him …
Goya's Dog
is a compelling story of an artist at war with himself.”

Quill & Quire

“Tarnopolsky's style is essentially witty: it combines observation and action in a way that is so elegant, so articulate and yet light of touch that one is hardly aware of its complexity. And he has made a book about a troubled person and a particularly turbulent place in history, a book about Canada as seen by an Englishman, a book about art and war and desire, that is both funny and sad.”

—Russell Smith, author of
Muriella Pent

“Darkly hilarious … Damian Tarnopolsky's meticulously weighted prose creates a vivid impression of his protagonist.”


“I was most struck by the sustained excellence of [Tarnopolsky's] prose. There is a deftness to his sense of pace and imagery that we associate with writers very much at home with their craft … As a historian I often dislike fiction set in the past, because the author's sense of history is usually so bad.
I didn't have this feeling at all with [Tarnopolsky's] deft recreation of Toronto, which seemed to me admirably minimalist … I don't envy any younger writer, of either fiction or non-fiction, trying to make a way in this time of breakneck change, but I certainly do envy his talent.”

—Michael Bliss, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Praise for
Lanzmann and Other Stories

“In his debut story collection, Tarnopolsky often writes like a dazzling fallen angel. I listened to Tarnopolsky plucking at my shopworn critical synapses, and asked why he made them sing in a way several prize contenders haven't. The answer is that he's a truly new voice, delivered with a rare panache.”

The Globe and Mail

“[Tarnopolsky's stories] not only display an ironic sensibility, but also demonstrate a prose style that owes much to the influence of Kafka … At turns surreal, serio-comic whimsical and erotic, Tarnopolsky's stories hurtle headlong into the heart of our myths … and reveal that the truth waiting for us is not what we'd expect.”

Toronto Star

“Tarnopolsky writes perfect, twisty sentences … there's authority, Nabokovian play and bawdiness to these tales … And if this desperately earnest town needs one thing, it's satire that takes itself seriously.”

eye weekly

“Tarnopolsky loves his characters for their flaws, not despite them, and the reader too is compelled … The characters are finely fleshed out, the dialogue is fluid and believable, and the structures are clever and interesting … proof of Tarnopolsky's skill, insight and wit.”

Quill & Quire

“Smart and funny and crass and intelligent. There is sour humour in these stories and bitter discovery. Tarnopolsky is full of form and new feeling. Highly recommended.”

—Michael Winter

“Full of sex and music, cynicism and beauty, absurdity and perfect order, cities and conversation and diversity, Tarnopolsky's elegant stories are darkly brilliant reflections of our darkly glittering age.”

—Stephen Marche



studied literature at the University of Toronto and Oxford University and writing with Mavis Gallant at the Humber School for Writers. He is the author of
Lanzmann and Other Stories,
a widely praised collection of short fiction, and his work has been nominated for the ReLit Award, the CBC Literary Award, the Journey Prize, the First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Born in London, England, he lives in Toronto with his family.
Goya's Dog
is his first novel.


Lanzmann and Other Stories



Published by the Penguin Group

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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in Hamish Hamilton hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 2009

Published in this edition, 2010

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB)

Copyright © Damian Tarnopolsky, 2009

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Manufactured in Canada.


Tarnopolsky, Damian

Goya's dog / Damian Tarnopolsky.

ISBN 978-0-14-317071-6

I. Title.

PS8639.A76G69 2010   C813'.6    C2010-902898-8

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Visit the Penguin Group (Canada) website at

Special and corporate bulk purchase rates available; please see
or call 1800-810-3104, ext. 2477 or 2474



Hell, thought Dacres, if Lady Dunfield didn't shut up he was going to hurl himself through the window. There was a delay, as usual there was some delay, as there had been at every stage of the journey. Within moments, Dacres predicted, a nice little man—like all the nice little men in this blasted giant country—would come down the train with an explanation and an apology, and Lady Dunfield would show him her lipsticky teeth. His cheek hurt.

The absurd thing was, he'd actually worried he'd be late. Thirty minutes before, with unusual anxiety, he'd hurried from his room, tiptapping his toes impatiently while waiting for the lift. Then rushed through the bright lobby and straight into a cab without looking left or right, and head down gone panting through the station carrying his two suitcases. As in a fairytale he'd argued with the guard until finally he was granted permission to board.

Relief—but then in the first compartment he'd spied Gorren, the surrealist, sitting with the ballerinas, smirking and keen not to be disturbed. He clomped on past two other members of their little troupe, macs strewn about, playing cards out already, like men around a campfire. A green pencil sticking out from between Trebs's teeth. He didn't recognize two of the other fellows: probably Canadians. They
all hated him, he knew. Dacres had continued down the corridor, fugitive and vagabond, his cases banging against the narrow walls, his cases twisting his wrists and banging against his knees. Approaching him were Nelda and her husband, Pear, the simpering fool who did those little oils exclusively of bridges and aqueducts with no water in sight. Pear gave Dacres an especially nasty glare. Awkward moment of not enough space, awkward triangular steps. And then, inevitably, he found that the only place to sit was with the Gorgon.

BOOK: Goya'S Dog
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