Amateur Thursdays has posted a video discussing J. R. Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip. Filmed here at the office of The New York Review of Books, artist William Wegman and acclaimed authors Stefan Merrill Block, Lisa Bornbach, and Susan Orlean gather to share their thoughts on the memoir, as well as a few details of their own pets and canine-inspired work.
My Dog Tulip is J.R. Ackerley’s memoir on his German shepherd, whom he described as the “ideal friend.” It is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes, and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.
In 2009 My Dog Tulip was brought to life as an adult, animated film, with the voices of Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini. The film is now available on DVD.
Other J.R. Ackerley books, all from NYRB Classics:
We Think the World of You
Ackerley’s only novel, We Think the World of You tells the story of an unlikely love affair, following its course along its many surprising and heartbreaking twists and turns. The book was described by Ackerley himself as “a fairytale for adults.”
Hindoo Holiday is an intimate and very funny account of an exceedingly strange place, and one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century travel literature.
My Father and Myself
Ackerley’s pursuit of his father is also an exploration of the self, making My Father and Myself a pioneering record, at once sexually explicit and emotionally charged, of life as a gay man. This witty, sorrowful, and beautiful book is a classic of twentieth-century memoir.