You'll have to forgive my overly histrionic title but when Nicholas Yong, journalist for the Singapore Straits Times writes such a lovely review for MUSH! Sled Dogs with Issues, I can't help but get a little excited. The book is available there through Books Kinokuniya. Here's the review in full:
Guy is going after team leader Dolly’s job. Buddy is lusting after Venus, who is not interested. And all Winston wants is a bit of respect, while nobody knows what Fiddler wants.
The dog-eat-dog world comes to life in this wry, offbeat tale of six sled dogs and their two owners in the remote Alaskan frost.
All six pooches have clearly defined personalities and all just want the boss to hitch them to his sled and take them on a run. As Fiddler, a mixed-breed Alaskan Husky, gloomily puts it: “Not much point being alive if we don’t run.”
Much of the fun of the story lies in watching the dogs interact between the longed-for runs: These mutts are as flawed as their owners, plagued by ambition, self-doubt and self-absorption.
The outspoken, caustic Dolly, a gorgeous Seppal Siberian sled dog, gets the best lines. In response to Fiddler’s remark about a sled dog who does not run, she says: “The meaning of that dog’s life is, he should be a cat.”
There are also plenty of laughs at the expense of the hapless Buddy, a Greenland dog, whose lust for Dolly is the very definition of, erm, puppy love. He is too dense to tell that she is indifferent to him, although the owners have mated the two several times.
Infurnari’s frenetic, almost cartoonish visuals complement Eichler’s acerbic wit perfectly and make the dogs particularly expressive. The human characters almost pale in comparison.
Dog owners Frank and Patty have their own issues. Frank is determined to disavow human society, declaring that “my dogs care about me more than they do”. Exasperated, Patty has the perfect comeback: “How loving do you think your precious dogs would be if you didn’t control their food?”
There is a strange irony in seeing humans, who consider themselves highly evolved, and dogs, supposedly their best friends, bickering over the same things. Frank might as well be talking about people when he says of the dogs: “They’re never more than one bite away from backsliding into wildness.”
At the end of this charming, enjoyable tale, Frank and Patty face the same issue as the dogs: They just have to learn to get along and work together if they want to survive.
Thanks go to Nicholas Yong for contacting me and bringing this to my attention.