by Noley Reid
Autumn House Press, 2023
Paper: 978-1-63768-064-3 | eISBN: 978-1-63768-065-0
Library of Congress Classification PS3618.E5453O75 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6

Stories of characters who face tragedies alongside their canine companions.
Noley Reid’s fourth book, Origami Dogs, is a testament to her mastery of the form. Here, dogs rove the grounds of their companions’ emotions. The creatures in this short story collection often act subtly, serving as witnesses without language, exacerbating tension and providing relief to the human characters. Sometimes they are central to the stories’ plots, such as in the lead story, “Origami Dogs,” which focuses on Iris Garr, a dog breeder’s teenage daughter, as she begins noticing odd birth defects in new litters and realizes she must confront her mother, whom she loves yet cannot help but resent. In some stories, teens struggle toward womanhood or wrestle with sexuality and queerness, confronting parents who are unable to provide the care or support they need. In other stories, Reid’s characters are adults striving to be better spouses, parents, or both, and are often grappling with life-changing events—like a new disability or the loss of a child. Despite the gravitas of these tragedies, with Reid’s touch, they feel alive, present, and painfully close. Reid brings us to her characters in the fierce damp aftermath of calamity and asks us to dwell with them until new possibilities arrive.

At these tipping points, the characters of Origami Dogs stand ready with their dogs (or memories of them), to take the next step. By turns tender, moving, and devastating, this story collection is a celebration of the bond of devotion possible between humans and dogs, and it presents an intimate rendering of the lives we share.

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