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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain: Driving in the Rain

This is the third in our series of posts on the All Fairfax Reads selection, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Fairfax County residents are encouraged to read and discuss the novel between now and September. Stein will appear at 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 19 on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University as part of Fall for the Book.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is told from the viewpoint of a dog – Enzo – who is trying to decipher his owner, Denny’s life. A race car driver, Denny shares with Enzo lessons learned on the track.

“ ‘Very gently. Like there are eggshells on your pedals,’” Denny always says. ‘And you don’t want to break them. That’s how you race in the rain.’” (p. 13)

But, this is only one skill for navigating bad weather.

“Balance, anticipation, patience. These are all vital. Peripheral vision. Seeing things you’ve never seen before. Kinesthetic sensation, driving by the seat of the pants. … This is what Denny says. He says racing is doing. It is being part of a moment and being aware of nothing else but that moment.” (p. 13-14)

As the novel unfolds and both Enzo and Denny grapple with life’s uncertainties, living in the moment becomes a mantra: “That which you manifest is before you.”

NEXT WEEK: The Dancing Zebra

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