- Dogsbody (novel)
Cover from the American edition.
Author(s) Diana Wynne Jones Cover artist Philippe Lardy, 2001 Country Great Britain Language English Genre(s) Children's Fantasy novel Publisher HarperCollins Publication date 1975 Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback) ISBN 978-0064410380 OCLC Number 47813078
Dogsbody is a 1975 children's novel by Diana Wynne Jones.
The main action of this novel is framed as follows. Sirius, the Dog Star, has been falsely convicted of murdering a fellow "luminary" and of losing the Zoi, an extremely dangerous weapon 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 supposedly Labrador puppies.
Revealed 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, another star, and his own quick wits -- uses his canine and stellar wisdom to track the lost weapon, 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
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. 
- ^ Card, Orson Scott (February 1992), "Books to Look For", The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/f&sf/92-02.html, retrieved 10/1/2008
Books by Diana Wynne Jones SeriesCharmed Life · The Lives of Christopher Chant · The Magicians of Caprona · Witch Week · Conrad's Fate · The Pinhoe Egg · Mixed MagicsWizard's CastleDerkholmMagids OtherArcher's Goon · Dogsbody · Eight Days of Luke · Enchanted Glass · Fire and Hemlock · Hexwood · The Homeward Bounders · The Ogre Downstairs · Power of Three · A Tale of Time City · Time of the Ghost · more…Categories:
- Novels by Diana Wynne Jones
- British young adult novels
- 1975 novels
- Children's fantasy novels
- 1970s fantasy novels
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