And a Dog Called FigÂ is an insightful and meditative exploration of the writer’s life and the role dogs play in it, from award-winning author Helen Humphreys.
An artist’s solitude is a sacred space, one to be guarded and kept apart from the chaos of the world. But in the artist’s quiet there is also loneliness, self-doubt, the possibility of collapsing too far inward.
What an artist needs is a familiar, a creature perfectly suited to accompany them on this coveted, difficult journey. They need a companion with emotional intelligence, innate curiosity, passion, energy, and an enthusiasm for the world beyond, but also the capacity to sleep contentedly for many hours. What an artist needs, Helen Humphreys would say, is a dog.
This brilliant memoir of the writing life is told through thedogs Humphreys has lived with and loved over a lifetime, touching on themes of connection, solitude, friendship and the creative process, and culminating with the arrival of a new puppy, Fig.
A love song to the dogs who come into our lives, and all that they bring-sorrow, mayhem, meditation, joy-this is a book about companionship and loss, creativity and the writer’s craft, filled with the beauty of a steadfast canine friend and the restorative powers of nature.
Interspersed are stories of other writers and their irreplaceable companions: Virginia Woolf and Grizzle, Gertrude Stein and Basket, Thomas Hardy and Wessex-the dog who walked the dining table at dinner parties, taking whatever he liked-and many more.
Just as every work of art is different, every dog is different-with distinctive needs and lessons to offer. If we let them guide us, they, like art, will show us many worlds we would otherwise miss.