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Download Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain, by Martha Sherrill, Laural Merlington Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (332 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Martha Sherrill, Laural Merlington Narrator: Laural Merlington Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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As Dog Man opens, Martha Sherrill brings us to a world that Americans know very little about—the snow country of Japan during World War II. In a mountain village, we meet Morie Sawataishi, a fierce individualist who has chosen to break the law by keeping an Akita dog hidden in a shed on his property.

During the war, the magnificent and intensely loyal Japanese hunting dogs are donated to help the war effort, eaten, or used to make fur vests for the military. By the time of the Japanese surrender in 1945, there are only sixteen Akitas left in the country. The survival of the breed becomes Morie’s passion and life, almost a spiritual calling.

Devoted to the dogs, Morie is forever changed. His life becomes radically unconventional—almost preposterous—in ultra-ambitious, conformist Japan. For the dogs, Morie passes up promotions, bigger houses, and prestigious engineering jobs in Tokyo. Instead, he raises a family with his young wife, Kitako—a sheltered urban sophisticate—in Japan’s remote and forbidding snow country. Due in part to Morie’s perseverance and passion, the Akita breed strengthens and becomes wildly popular, sometimes selling for millions of yen. Yet Morie won’t sell his spectacular dogs. He only likes to give them away.

Morie and Kitako remain in the snow country today, living in the traditional Japanese cottage they designed together more than thirty years ago—with tatami mats, an overhanging roof, a deep bathtub, and no central heat. At ninety-four years old, Morie still raises and trains the Akita dogs that have come to symbolize his life.

In beautiful prose that is a joy to read, Sherrill opens up the world of the Dog Man and his wife, providing a profound look at what it is to be an individualist in a culture that reveres conformity—and what it means to live life in one’s own way.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Carrie | 2/20/2014

    " I sought this book out because I own two Akitas. This book was very relaxing to read. An interesting story set in Northern Japan where time ticks by slowly and hence everything else around you becomes more beautiful and static just like an Akita puppy. These dogs are magical to begin with so this story showcases one persons love of the dog on the continent of Japan with all their cultures and customs in full gear. It's lovely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Cherie | 2/17/2014

    " An interesting look at a way of life in Japan after WWII. Also interesting from a dig enthusiasts perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sharon | 2/16/2014

    " Beautifully written--if real life is this engaging, who needs fiction? ok ok, we need fiction but... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mike D. Walter | 2/13/2014

    " An interesting history of the Akita breed, and the politics of the dog breeders in post--WWII Japan. The subject of the story is an unusual and interesting character. However, the same can't be said for the prose, which reads like a series of magazine articles, decopaged together, without any transition. At times information is repeated, and things that the author has already described once, get more attention as the story slips fluidly back and forth in time. "

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About the Author

Martha Sherrill is a former Washington Post staff writer who specializes in penetrating profiles of difficult subjects. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Esquire and Vanity Fair, among other publications. She is the author of The Buddha from Brooklyn, a work of nonfiction, and the novels My Last Movie Star and The Ruins of California.