First published in 1933, Flush is the story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel. Although Flush has adventures of his own, he is also the means of providing us with glimpses into the life of his owner and her days at Wimpole Street as an invalid, her courtship by Robert Browning, their elopement and life together in Italy. (from Goodreads)
I bought this book blindly. I’ve been reading now and then some works from Woolf through the last couple of years so when this one crossed my path I didn’t think twice. There was nothing in the title that gave me a hint of its content, and there was no synopsis or abstract of any kind in the back cover. I opened the book just enough to see it seemed to be some kind of novel and that was that. As soon as I started reading it and realized it was about a dog I thought “Ughh, I hope he has a good life and doesn’t die horribly”. Spoiler alert: he has and he doesn’t.
I’m not used to read novels written from the point of view of real animals (not anthropomorphized versions), and when I do I tend to constantly think “Do my pets feel or felt like this?”. I look at my dog, she’s a senior now, and spends most of her time just laying here and there, trying to keep herself cool or warm through the seasons. How was the domestication process for her? How do pets learn and understand us? When did my cat stopped being a fuzzy vindictive little demon and became a furry napping ball that learned to ask me to pick her up? Or did she taught me? Why my other cat doesn’t like me? Why does she likes my brother more? What does she sees in me?
Did Virginia Woolf understand dogs in a way that I don’t? She wrote this to be so believable. Or is it that she just put into words what we all want to believe about dogs’ thinking process?
This book was so lovely to read. Sure, Flush goes through some tough moments, but no more than any other main character in any novel.