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Dogs Don’t Cook by Catherine Alexander

Eloquent, moving, and evocative…

Alexander makes her debut with this emotionally resonant tale of a man trying to salvage meaning from a broken life. THOMAS “HATCH” HATCHFIELD was a young man with a promising future as an artist when he got pulled into the horrors of the Vietnam War. Discharge from his duty accompanied by a gut injury and a Purple Heart took him out of the war-torn times, but the trauma of witnessing the terrors of the war never left him fully. Now twenty-seven years later, Hatch is a homeless alcoholic. He has no one but his faithful dog Bud and an aloof older sister. Art is behind him. When he meets the strong, kind Rosa, he sees a new chance at life once again. But getting sober after years of alcoholism is not as easy as it seems. This finely constructed literary tale has it all: tender human connection, poignant emotion, and compelling individual drama. Alexander’s richly textured, atmospheric narrative oscillates between Hatch’s first-person perspective, third-person omniscient voice, and flashbacks from the past, alternating among heartening and elegiac moods; Hatch’s stirring, warm bond with Bud and Rosa and his maddening inner turmoil that leaves him exhausted and devastatingly sad. Hatch’s flashbacks of the war give the story a despairing tone. Alexander depicts her fictitious landscape in raptly evocative prose, and her characterization plumbs incredible depths, drawing readers completely in. Despite their realistic shortcomings, both primary and secondary characters are unique and satisfyingly complex: Hatch is a compelling character—broken, lonely, and greatly discombobulated by his circumstances. As he struggles to come out of his brokenness, looking for purpose and new chance at life, readers will root for him to succeed; Rosa is wrought with intelligence, determination, and genuine compassion and makes for an endearing character; Bud, with all its doggy antics (and brutal honesty), is simply adorable; and so does the entire cast of misfit AA members. Alexander shines at exploring human connection, fragility of life, mortality, impossibly difficult life circumstances, courage, resilience, and determination. This is a fine piece of literary fiction, casting a light on PTSD, trauma, alcoholism, substance abuse, familial ties, friendship, belonging while raising relevant questions about war and how it affects countries as well as people on individual level. Lovers of literary fiction won’t want to miss this richly imagined tale of human resilience, friendship, and self-discovery.

Dogs Don’t Cook

Catherine Alexander

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Pub date November 12, 2021

ISBN 979-8985007503

Price $14.99 (USD) Paperback, $4.95 Kindle edition

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