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Extended Audio Sample Dog Years: A Memoir Audiobook, by Mark Doty Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,297 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Doty Narrator: Mark Doty Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2007 ISBN: 9780061262517
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Why do dogs speak so profoundly to our inner lives? When Mark Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he finds himself bringing home Beau, a large golden retriever, malnourished and in need of loving care. Beau joins Arden, the black retriever, to complete their family. As Beau bounds back into life, the two dogs become Mark Doty’s intimate companions, his solace, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days. Their tenacity, loyalty, and love inspire him when all else fails.

Dog Years is a remarkable book: a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss. Mark Doty writes about the heart-wrenching vulnerability of dogs, the positive energy and joy they bring, and the gift they bear us of unconditional love. A book unlike any other, Mark Doty's surprising meditation is radiantly unsentimental yet profoundly affecting. Beautifully written, Dog Years is a classic in the making.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Life affirming, lyrical, and profoundly affecting…Only Mark Doty could have written a dog book...that covers so much ground.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A tender reflection on love and loss, this is Marley & Me for the cerebral.”

    People

  • “Doty pays loving tribute to two retrievers…Dog Years is a warm, thought-provoking discourse.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Lyrical and sensitive…Doty poetically expresses what many have felt but few can articulate.” 

    USA Today

  • “This is Doty at his best....Doty does in fact make the unsayable sayable, bringing the ungraspable within our reach.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A wounding yet arresting memoir about living with his dogs…Doty’s gorgeous prose and piercing meditations...are simply sublime.”

    Washington Post Magazine

  • “Potent and expressive...The weight of Doty’s adoration for his pets is expressed with...eloquence throughout.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Tender and amusing…Doty brilliantly captures the qualities that make dogs endearing.”

    New Yorker

  • “Doty is at his best…exploring the mirrorlike quality of a dog’s gaze or the inextricable duality of hope and despair.” 

    New York magazine

  • “A meditation on how we can live with hope…Dog Years wrestles with the Big Questions.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Elegant and elegiac.”

    Booklist

  • “In a blend of memoir, literary criticism, and reflections on dogs and death, Mark Doty recounts the making of his human-canine family…Doty’s reading has a singsong quality…[which] complements the lyrical tone of this work.”

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 2/19/2014

    " I am so appreciating this book....it travels familiar paths for me of strong connectedness to dogs and some of the places the author lived as well....a poet writing prose is so satisfying; a blending of both really seems to work here. He hones in on the descriptions of his dogs perfectly, even to the shape and smell of their ears. I am enjoying listening to his book being read in his own voice too. I highly recommend this book to true dog lovers. Finished the book, and it just got better and better as it neared the finish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Sutthoff Slaton | 2/16/2014

    " Doty shows his mastery of lyrical prose to weave a wonderful story wrought from the lives of two dogs, two partners (one deceased from AIDS) and 9-11 New York. I can only speak as a dog lover - I found it difficult to put this book down and always had it in my bag should I be able to steal a minute or two to lap up more pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/12/2014

    " This is a really lovely memoir, but so sad. It's about, among other things, how when his partner died of AIDS, the author entrusted his will to live to his two dogs. In caring for them, he was able to go on; but then they begin to age and he must face their deaths as well. It's a life-affirming book, but it made me cry seven or eight times. Beautifully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 2/11/2014

    " The most beautiful book about dogs I've read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 1/22/2014

    " This was a beautiful book. It is perhaps one of the best written I have read in a long time. You can tell that the author is a poet. He uses some of the most beautiful imagery. The book is about so much more than his dogs. It is about loss, sadness, and picking up the pieces after you have lost someone you care so very deeply for. Yes, I cried a bit but not nearly as much as I feared that I would. This book will tug at your heart and will have meaning for anyone who has ever had an elderly pet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gale | 1/13/2014

    " I enjoyed this book and the author's writing style. I feel that I really got to know the dogs, and as a the "mother" of a wild and crazy mutt, loved his thoughts on dog communication. I wish the book had been longer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lexi Walters Wright | 1/8/2014

    " I sobbed--SOBBED--listening to this book to work and back for a month. (It's only two hours each way once a week; it was a month of amazing commutes.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay Z | 1/7/2014

    " Incisive, heartbreaking, endlessly quotable. And I don't even like dogs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kasey | 11/17/2013

    " I love all Mark Doty's books--both memoirs and poetry--and this, along with Heaven's Coast, is one of my favorites. He's intensely aware of the beauty and fragility of the world and writes about both so movingly... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michel | 11/15/2013

    " Great story. Loved the way the story isn't just a timeline, but jumps around. Excellent read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maryann | 10/23/2013

    " I read this book after Ellen died. Too wonderful. Too hard. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sar | 10/18/2013

    " A beautifully written, poignant memoir of loss. I read it right after my beloved dog died and he spoke to the kind of grief I felt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 9/15/2013

    " Touching and as expected poetically tendered account of how Doty is helped by two canines through the loss of his long time partner and lover. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cavery22 | 6/12/2013

    " I LOVED this book. Its a memoir about his life with his partner and his two dogs. He is the first and so far only person to perfectly capture what it is like to have a dog and to love a dog. Cried like a baby on the bus, incredibly sad. I'm keeping this book forever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marc | 2/22/2013

    " Beautifully written. Any dog lover/owner (especially with an older dog) will get a lot out of this book. Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Vaughan | 12/1/2012

    " This memoir made me bawl. Doty's devotion to a health challenged partner and attachment to dogs that live though every single aspect of human couple behavior was terrific. I am a lifelong fan of Doty. His poetry rocks too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alissa Boyer | 8/19/2012

    " This book was an easy read but it wasn't my favorite. I liked Marley and Me a whole lot better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 7/10/2012

    " Poetic. Not a light-hearted dog memoir. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tess | 5/16/2012

    " Gosh I love this guy -- all heart and what a writer. I love it when poets are philosophers without sounding dry or didactic. He's just a gorgeous writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/3/2012

    " Yep, cried. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 1/28/2012

    " Yuck, double yuck, but at least there is no triple yuck. Maudlin and sappy, force myself to get through it (with the aid of well-place skimming). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb Luckenbihl | 10/8/2011

    " this is some one who is able to put into words what it felt like to lose my dogs "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shellynne | 4/17/2011

    " A very moving account of life, death, and everything in-between. Those with a foot in existentialism will appreciate the philosophical voice of the author. You don't have to be a dog lover, but it helps. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christy | 4/5/2011

    " This was just a beautiful book. Doty's a poet and his writing is eloquent. I laughed at his experiences and actually cried in several places. He really captures the pleasure of owning dogs and sharing the dogs with a partner. Read this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay Z | 4/1/2011

    " Incisive, heartbreaking, endlessly quotable. And I don't even like dogs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffery | 3/5/2011

    " Deeply moving and poetic tribute to this author's loved ones, both human and canine. He memorializes a deceased partner and two faithful dogs, mixing poetry, questions of existence, and thoughts on the hereafter. It's a beautifully moving and intimate journey. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marlene | 2/11/2011

    " A sad story about; compassion, love, dignity and loss. Both of human relationships and of love and loss of a beloved pet.
    I loved the relationship and bond the owners had with their dogs. But I'm not a fan of his writing style, I found it to be too fragmented there for two stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 2/1/2011

    " Touching and as expected poetically tendered account of how Doty is helped by two canines through the loss of his long time partner and lover. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 10/13/2010

    " While this has some good parts, it seems like mostly rambling. Maybe because I am not a dog lover, but not really what I was expecting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sar | 10/11/2010

    " A beautifully written, poignant memoir of loss. I read it right after my beloved dog died and he spoke to the kind of grief I felt. "

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About the Author
Author Mark Doty

Mark Doty's books of poetry and nonfiction prose have been honored with numerous distinctions, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and, in the United Kingdom, the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2008, he won the National Book Award for Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. He is a professor at the University of Houston, and he lives in New York City.