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Friday, 8 July 2016

Blog Tour - The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang

Today I am very pleased to welcome Sun-Mi Hwang to my blog. The Dog who Dared to Dream is the second book by Sun-Mi and is her second book to be translated into English. Her debut novel, The Hen who Dreamed she could Fly sold over two million copies worldwide.  

The Dog who Dared to Dream  is the story of a dog named Scraggly. Born an outsider because of her distinctive appearance, she spends most of her days in the sun-filled yard of her owner’s house. Scraggly has dreams and aspirations just like the rest of us. But each winter, dark clouds descend and Scraggly is faced with challenges that she must overcome. Through the clouds and even beyond the gates of her owner’s yard lies the possibility of friendship, motherhood and happiness – they are for the taking if Scraggly can just hold on to them, bring them home and build the life she so desperately desires. The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a wise tale of the relationship between dog and man, as well as a celebration of a life lived with courage.

I have been asked to share the first chapter of the book with my blog readers and I hope you enjoy.......

The brown dog lifted her head off the ground and growled as she nursed her pups. But that was it – she didn’t even bare her teeth. ‘I thought he’d come only after we starved to death,’ she muttered.

The wire mesh gate, covered with a blanket, opened with a clang. Cold air rushed in. Shivering, she glimpsed the changing colours of the persimmon tree outside as the old man entered the large metal cage. His footsteps had given him away; she wouldn’t have remained so calm if it had been anyone else. After all, it had only been thirteen days since she’d given birth.

The old man closed the gate behind him and placed a steaming pot on the ground. He blew out cigarette smoke, his face becoming blurry. ‘Now you guys aren’t so green any more,’ he said, reaching down to remove the pups. They kept suckling, their eyes closed. ‘You rascals! You’ll kill her with all that sucking.’

‘I’ll say,’ murmured the mother dog. She slowly got to her feet. ‘This litter has quite an appetite.’ She looked exhausted. Her teats were red and swollen and her fur was stiff. She began to wolf down her breakfast.
The old man crouched nearby and finished the rest of his cigarette, watching her. She was shivering. Her shoulder bones protruded from her thin frame. The pups snuffled around, looking for their mother’s nipples, whining for her attention. She didn’t pay them any mind, focused as she was on eating.

The man turned off the kerosene heater in the corner. It had been on all night long. ‘All different colours,’ he remarked.

Two were entirely brown, two were brown with white spots, three were brown with black spots, and one was very dark, almost bluish black.

‘Just a few more days of hard work,’ he said, stroking their mother with his rough hand. ‘We’ll find them owners soon.’

The mother dog finished the entire pot, but she wasn’t quite full. She licked the remnants on the ground and looked up at the old man, who was holding a spotted puppy that had been pushed off the blanket they had been lying on.

He tutted. ‘The firstborn . . . ’ He looked down at it sadly. The puppy was already stiff. ‘Weak from the very beginning, and now it’s gone.’

‘That one was born too weak,’ sighed their mother. ‘It didn’t even suckle properly. Why is it always the firstborns that make me cry, every time?’ She lay down again with a grunt. The pups burrowed into her, nudging her with their heads and tapping her with their front paws. Her belly jiggled gently. The babies struggled for nipples. The two strongest ones, both brown, pushed their siblings aside and settled in the middle. The black pup fell backwards in the tussle. She tried to push her way back in but couldn’t clamber over her siblings’ legs. Whimpering, she tried again. But nobody moved aside.

The old man gazed down at her. ‘You’re certainly not the weakest. Why are you letting yourself be shoved away?’ He placed the small, lightweight pup on his palm. ‘How did your mother come to have an odd one like you? Your fur’s come in already. And you’re all black!’

Thank you to the publishers, Little, Brown, for sending me the book to review and inviting me to be a part of the tour.

‘It’s a first for me, too,’ said the mother dog. ‘Their father doesn’t look like that.’

The black pup sniffed the man’s hand. It smelled of metal. She knew this scent. Earlier, her siblings had pushed her, causing her to topple over onto the bare floor. She had hit her head on the wire mesh, and this smell had enveloped her. Her eyelids fluttered, her head hurting anew. She opened her eyes slowly to see the man’s wrinkled face, patchy with dark scabs, burned by the sparks that landed on his face when he soldered.
‘Look at you! You’re the first to open your eyes!’ The old man plucked a brown pup nestled in the middle and set down the blue- black puppy in its place.

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