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James Herbert

Average Review Rating Average Rating 10/10 (2 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : New English Library

Published : 1977

Copyright : James Herbert 1977

ISBN-10 : PB 0-330-37617-9
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-330-37617-4

Publisher's Write-Up

The Rats
"What a chiller it is... the author knows how to keep a story moving."

Daily Express

The effectiveness of the gruesome set pieces and brilliant... finale are all its own."

Sunday Times

The Fog
"For goodness sake don't leave this on aunt Edna's chair."

Sunday Times

The Survivor
"Brisk and ingenious horror story."

Sunday Times

"The story moves colourfully to a climax but keeps its secret to the last."

Manchester Evening News

And now a new kind of novel...

He was a stringy mongrel, wandering the streets of the city, driven by a ravenous hunger and hunting a quarry he could not define. But he was something more. Somewhere in the depths of his consciousness was a memory clawing its way to the surface, tormenting him, refusing to let him rest. The memory of what he had once been. A man...

The story of a dog who thinks he's a man... or a man who thinks he's a dog.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nadine (181204) Rating (9/10)
Review by Nigel (010402) Rating (10/10)
Star Book

Review by Nadine
Rating 9/10
I saw the film that was adapted from this book a few years ago, and while cute and fluffy in Disney-like fashion, it did nothing to encourage me to read the original story. However, over the years I have heard nothing but praise for the book, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I've never read any James Herbert before because I'm not a horror fan, but I was assured that Fluke is not typical of the author's gruesome style. Happily, this was indeed the case.

The idea of an adventure told from the point of view of a dog seems so simple that it must have been done countless times before, but while reading it I must say it seemed highly original to me. Herbert captured the world as seen through a dog's eyes (and nose) in such a compelling fashion that I found myself believing that it must be an accurate portrayal of canine thoughts and feelings.

Of course, Fluke is no ordinary dog. I don't want to give the whole premise away, but from his early puppyhood he knows that he is different, and that he must embark on a journey to discover the truth about himself. Along the way he meets some colourful characters and gets into all manner of scrapes, as you would expect of a mischievous stray.

Parts of the story are sad, but not depressingly so. Some episodes are touching, but not gushing. Then there is tension, excitement and even a moment or two of hilarity. I think my favourite part was when Fluke was hanging around outside a church, listening to the muted sound of hymn singing and joining in at the bits he knew.

Most of my praise, though, is for the ending. It's perhaps not exactly the ending that Fluke was hoping for, but it is happy. Everything comes together in a way that seems right and makes sense, and you realise that it couldn't have ended any other way.

Normally at this point I insert a line or two of criticism, but to be honest I really can't think of anything to complain about. It was perhaps not as gripping as I'd hoped, but I really think that was just because I saw the film first. While it was by no means an accurate adaptation, it gave away enough of the plot for me to know what was coming and how it would all end. If I hadn't seen it, I think the story would have engrossed me a lot more.

To summarise, this is a book full of memorable moments and absolutely loaded with charm. But the deeper themes of life, death and existence in general save it from becoming over-sentimental. Definitely a keeper for future re-reading.
Nadine (18th December 2004)

Review by Nigel
Rating 10/10
On the surface Fluke was a real departure for James Herbert at the time. Known for his gruesome horror novels such as The Rats and The Fog and his brilliant horror/ghost story The Survivor, Fluke seemed fluffy and funny.

It tells the story of a dog called Fluke, from the day he is born until late into his life. It deals with all your normal doggy adventures, some of which are very funny, as well as strange memories that keep plaguing him. It's these memories that form the core to the story and make it more than just a Watership Down type novel.

I can't really give much more away as it will spoil the plot. Suffice to say it is a fantastic read that will have you laughing and crying, with an ending that may well leave you with a few theological thoughts... one more thing, watch out for Rumbo, the dog that shows Fluke the 'ropes'. He is a great character that you will love and who also appears briefly in James Herbert's new novel Once.
Nigel (1st April 2002)

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