Winner of the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. With an introduction by Yann Martel.
Abandoned in a big city at the onset of winter, a hungry four-year-old boy follows a stray dog to her lair. There in the rich smelly darkness, in the rub of hair, claws and teeth, he joins four puppies suckling at their mother’s teats. And so begins Romochka’s life as a dog.
Weak and hairless, with his useless nose and blunt little teeth, Romochka is ashamed of what a poor dog he makes. But learning how to be something else…that’s a skill a human can master. And one day Romochka will have to learn how to be a boy.
The story of the child raised by beasts is timeless. But in Dog Boy Eva Hornung has created such a vivid and original telling, so viscerally convincing, that it becomes not just new but definitive.
Eva Hornung was born in Bendigo and now lives in Adelaide. As Eva Sallis, she is an award-winning writer of literary fiction and criticism: her first novel Hiam won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1997 and the Nita May Dobbie Award in 1999. Her novel The Marsh Birds won the Asher Literary Award in 2005, and was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Age Book of the Year 2005, NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Dog Boy (2009) won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for several other prizes.
Yann Martel is the author of Life of Pi, the #1 international bestseller that won the 2002 Man Booker (among many other prizes), and was adapted to the screen in an Oscar-winning film by Ang Lee. Martel is also the award-winning author of The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (which won the Journey Prize), Self, Beatrice and Virgil, and a book of recommended reading: 101 Letters to a Prime Minister.
Praise for Dog Boy
‘Astonishing…a world of terrifying tactility—of teeth, teat, fur and claw…The novel is a strange, sombre, sobering triumph.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘Dog Boy is rich in interest and ideas…Hornung is wonderful on the physical characteristics, both beautiful and repulsive, of animals and children…Dog Boy unravels some of the reasons why humans and dogs are co-dependant and at the same time reinvents the idea of the wild child as an urban survivor, suggesting a future so menacing we prefer to ignore it.’ Age
‘Hornung’s writing is beautiful and assured: her descriptions of this dog boy life are vivid and visceral and sensual and utterly compelling. She also writes about the dogs with breath-taking beauty—the penultimate climactic scene will squeeze your heart. Dog Boy is an ambitious concept, magnificently realised—you’ll never look at a dog in the same way again.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘A grim and primal story of unnatural selection…This tough new novel represents an important shift in emphasis and a broadening of her vision as she continues her forensic investigation into the human condition.’ Australian
‘Grotesque, moving and utterly astonishing.’ Herald Sun
‘In exploring what it might be like to be a dog from a human perspective, Dog Boy sheds much light on what it is like to be human. Extraordinary, compelling and utterly believable.’ Yann Martel