Dogsbody (novel)

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Cover Of Dogsbody.jpg
First edition
Author Diana Wynne Jones
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Children's Fantasy novel
Publisher Macmillan Publishers
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 191
ISBN 0333187911
OCLC 47813078

Dogsbody is a 1975 children's novel by Diana Wynne Jones.

Plot summary[edit]

Sirius, guardian luminary of the Dog Star, has been convicted of murdering a fellow "luminary" and of losing the Zoi, an extremely powerful cosmic tool that he has allowed to fall to a minor planet. He is sentenced to spend one lifetime in the form of dog, an animal native to this planet: if he can recover the Zoi within that dog's lifetime, he will be allowed to return to his former status as Sirius. If he does not, he will simply die at the end of his dog's life. Sirius accepts the sentence and is born into a litter of puppies.

Discovered as mongrels, the puppies are thrown into the river in a sack. This is just the beginning of Sirius's problems. Although adopted by the loving Kathleen, he learns that she is "low dog" everywhere because she is Irish. Struggling with his limitations as a dog and his perceptions as a star, coping with the bigotry in the household, trying simply to get out on the street so he can begin his search for the Zoi, Sirius is battered by one setback after another. How he - with help from Kathleen, the luminary Sol (our sun), and his own quick wits - uses his canine and stellar wisdom to track the lost cosmic tool, is an intricate and intriguing tale.

Many references are made to mythology, particularly Welsh mythology in the appearance and actions of the dogs (see Cŵn Annwn) and several later characters such as Arawn.

Reception and Reviews[edit]

SF writer Orson Scott Card, reviewing several DWJ reissues in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, wrote

Yet even with a dog hero, Jones does not overload us with cute animals. Instead they are dangerous and, by and large, rather stupid. Of course, so are the humans, so the struggle between human and animal isn't entirely one-sided. Dogsbody has become, deservedly, a classic, not despite but because of its completely nontraditional cosmology.


See also[edit]