How Shall I Tell the Dog and other final musings by Miles Kington

The title just about says it all for this little book. It’s humourous and to the point. I knew that the author had been diagnosed with terminal cancer before reading it and I knew that the book would be funny. What I didn’t know was how graceful and courageously presented it would be.

How Shall I Tell the Dog is comprised of fictitious letters written to the author’s agent, Gill. These letters consist of ideas for another last book, which ironically (or intentionally) this book turned out to be. Every chapter is filled with funny and sometimes subtle observations about life and death and how people deal with both. From the chapter entitled The Way You Look:

“Dear Gill,

Has anyone ever written a book called something like ‘The Way You Think You Look, and The Way You Really Look’?

It might be subtitled something like ‘How things got that way, and what you can do about it’.”

How Shall I Tell the Dog is filled with sly wit and humourous characterizations.
The bit of research I did on the author told me that was his usual style. He was a writer for the now defunct Punch magazine and then went on to work at the British newspaper Independent for many years. It was while there that he learned of his cancer and where his daily column was still published right up until the day he died. Despite that, this is not a sad book by any means. For all that it deals with a serious topic, this book is a nice, funny and uplifting read.


Tina on July 6, 2009 at 9:48 AM said...

This sounds great. Unfortunately, I never feel capable emotionally of reading books like this - even if this are uplifting, etc.

Literary Feline on July 6, 2009 at 12:10 PM said...

I will have to look for this one. It sounds great. It seems like one of those books that is even more powerful knowing the history behind it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

bermudaonion on July 6, 2009 at 1:47 PM said...

The book does sound funny yet a little bit sad.


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