The Art of Racing in the Rain Summary & Study Guide

Garth Stein
This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Art of Racing in the Rain.
This section contains 449 words
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The Art of Racing in the Rain Summary & Study Guide Description

The Art of Racing in the Rain Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is an unusual novel for more than one reason. What makes the novel unique is that the narrator is a dog named Enzo. It just so happens that Enzo is extremely intelligent and perceptive. In fact, Enzo's thought processes are very much like those of his owner, Denny Swift. Denny Swift is an aspiring race car driver whose dreams of Formula One glory consume all of Denny's energy and focus. Denny and Enzo are best friends from the moment Denny brings Enzo home from the puppy farm in Spangle, Washington until the last few seconds of Enzo's life. The novel is a love story, a story of speed and emotion, change and acceptance - all told through the eyes of a very astute canine.

The novel begins at the end of Enzo's life. He is looking back at some of the most critical moments of his existence as a dog and philosophizing about what he has learned on his journey so far. Enzo is old and ill but his spirits are buoyed by the lovely memories he has collected along the way. And even though he is accepting that his time is near, Enzo is nonetheless disappointed that he cannot take his memories into the next life with him. Enzo is convinced that he will be reincarnated as a man, with thumbs. Being a man is Enzo's ultimate dream and there is nothing more important to Enzo than leaving this life and beginning the next life as smoothly and as soon as possible.

Enzo narration of the story of their lives features several philosophical monologues in which Enzo uses racing as a metaphor for life. Enzo has learned everything he knows from Denny Swift. Denny hopes to be a champion Formula One someday and Enzo shares this dream.

One of the most valuable skills that a race driver can have is the ability to win a race in the rain. Enzo loves television, especially the educational aspects of The Weather Channel. Enzo thinks deeply about the world and his understanding of the truly important aspects of life makes his point of view both refreshing and illuminating.

Enzo and Denny are a family until Denny marries Eve and baby Zoë is born. Enzo comes to enjoy his role as protector and confidant to the little family until Eve suddenly becomes ill. Enzo watches as Denny's entire world is turned upside down and he stands to lose everything. Through everything that happens to Denny and his family, Enzo is the observant witness who shares his perspective with the reader while telling the story of his journey with his best friend.

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This section contains 449 words
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