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Good Dogs Don’t Make it to the South Pole by Hans-Olav Thyvold
The wisest and most inspiring book on friendship and ageing, written by a dog, that you’ll ever read.
The best thing you can aspire to in this world is company. whether it’s for pleasure of pain, a crowning or an execution; everything is better with company. You might say it all went to hell with Mrs. Thorkildsen, but you know what? It could have been worse, because Mrs. Thorkildsen had me to keep her company. And I had her. That’s what we had in common, her and me, what bound us together. We were company.
The Major, a World War Two veteran, breathes his last. Watching over him are his wife and his faithful companion, Tassen, the story’s narrator, who is, by his own admission, a couch potato and a one-man dog.
After the Major is gone, Tassen and Mrs. Thorkildsen settle into their new life, surrounded by books and stories of the 1911 race between Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and Britain’s Captain Robert F. Scott to reach the South Pole. Regular visits to the local library and the bar next door provide all types of enlightenment.
However wen Mrs. Thorkildsen becomes ill, Tassen’s world begins to wobble.
I picked this book up because the dog on the cover was just so cute and irresistable. At first, I thought it was a lightweight book of cute dog stories, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As Mrs. Thorkildson ages and her health declines, Tassen is by her side, listening to her relate the story ofan expedition to the South Pole and the role dogs played. Tassen thoughts on hearing the story are very funny and yes, exactly what a dog would surely think.
There are so many animal insights in this book, some comical and some sad as he has imagined conversations with himself about what he sees around him and what he supposes Mrs. Thorkildsen is up to.
Even though there is a thread of humour through the book, the story is definitely not light and superficial. As an older person, I could very much identify with the themes of ageing, death, companionship and life which as an older person. I enjoyed this book very much.
Translated into English from Norwegian.
‘I love it. If your dog is going to read just one book this year – this is it’ – Tess Erngren
Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
About the Author
Hans-Olav Thyvold was born in Norway in 1959. He has published several nonfiction books and also been a journalist, radio host and TV host. In 2017 he published his first work of fiction, Snille hunder kommer ikke til Sydpolen. The novel has now been translated into English and is published as Good Dogs Don’t Make it to the South Pole. Thyvold has previously written and published books about Roald Amundsen as well as Fridtjof Nansen – allenandunwin.com
First Published in Norway 2017. This edition published in Australia & New Zealand in 2019 by Allen & Unwin. Softcover, 297 pages
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All books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library, unless otherwise stated.
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