The Dog on the Acropolis by Mark Tedesco
Publication Date: June 11th 2019
Publisher: Academia Publications
A family living in Greece at the time of the construction of the Parthenon and another family, thousands of years later, eking out a living at the base of the Acropolis.
The repercussions of the meeting of man and dog would unfold in unforeseen ways that would impact the lives around them.
The narrative takes the reader to Greece’s Golden Age, in which one dog, Daria, would scamper up the hill to keep up with Adelino, a stone cutter working on the new temple, and his son Tiro. The lives of Pheidias, the architect of the Parthenon, Adelino and Diana his wife, as well as Tiro their son, would intersect in unexpected ways.
The story brings then brings the reader back into the present where past and present eventually coincide, transforming the lives of both canines and humans.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***
The Dog on the Acropolis was a fiction that revolved around Draco, dog, living on acropolis, his dream and his relationship with business owners on in Plaka. It was about the human-animal relationship, friendship, compassion and companion.
What I liked-
Book started with introduction of Draco, a black Labrador, who lived on the Acropolis, slept on the steps of Parthenon and regularly visited Plaka where he met characters- Akil, Alexander and Cynarra- who had business there for generations. During the day he guided tourists to Parthenon, it was like his mission to bring them to their destination while in nights he saw unusual dream about his first ancestor, Daria, from 5th century in Athens when construction of Parhtenon started. He felt attached to Parthenon and his dreams that affected his moods.
Story was third person narrative written in two timeline. Present telling Draco’s routine and his bond with Akil, Alexander and Cynarra. It also told about each of their life in Athens- Akil’s sandwitch shop, his family and his strained relationship with his son, Jason, that soon changed after meeting Draco; Alexander and his worries for his restaurant, growing age and health issues; Cynarra who hated running her parents’ flower shop, how they were insisting her to leave her dream of studying at university and leaving the town and family business. While the past told about Daria and the family she lived with, how much she loved Adelino (a stone cutter at Parthenon construction site), tragic events occurred and how family and dog sailed through the storm in their life.
Both story had few things in common. Daria and Draco were fiercely protective for their humans and both Adelino and Akil were very much alike and so their family. Both Diana in past story and Maria in present didn’t like the idea of having dog in their house initially, but thawed eventually and understood the love and comfort those dogs brought in their home.
I liked the concept of a stray dog leading tourist in Acropolis, being part of small community, changing their life and bringing joy to them and along with this his dreams about his ancestor and her life during the golden age of Athens that made him feel connected to Acropolis and Parthenon. It was interesting, unique and simple story that reaffirms ‘Animals are our best friend’.
I enjoyed past timeline more than the present story. It had interesting turns, tense events made me want to read more. I loved how Diana developed by the end. Daria was amazing in the story. Through her eyes we see the life in ancient Athens, people’s belief in Athena and how difficult a stone cutter’s life was. It was hard not to like this loving dog.
In present I liked description of dog’s behavior and his emotions, how humans around Draco tried to understand him and let him have his freedom but kept close eye to his health and made sure nothing wrong happened to him. I loved the way dog brought three different characters together being bridge to their friendship and the way he forged strong bond with each of them especially with Akil and his family.
The insight in the book about freedom, friendship and dreams was great. The climax was unexpected and end was sad.
Why 3 stars-
My main issue was, though the story was realistic, author pictured relation between human and animal very genuinely, I didn’t feel it deeply. I didn’t enjoy the conversation between characters, it felt dull.
I don’t know exact timeline for present story but it didn’t feel modern. I read many small town stories and never heard about parents insisting their girl not to go to college and stay in town to run family business while son has left the town to live his own life. Also characters were hesitant to kiss a dog in public, they did so when no one was watching! It was pretty out dated.
Though the book was just 200 pages, it felt long.
Overall, interesting concept, loved the human and animal relationship. I wish it had the feel too. Dog lovers would like to read this book.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Which book you read a book had best animal-human bond?
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