Factual Bark, Fictional Bite (Pet’s Corner No.5)

The author Egor Falastrom, as we all know, is not above putting himself into his books. He readily admits that his protagonist Egor Poeur (star of such works as Dark Dreams of a Delirious Dog-Catcher, Further Dreams of a Delirious Dog-Catcher, Still More Dreams of a Delirious Dog-Catcher, and the forthcoming  Beauty’s Tutor) is ‘but an enhanced and improved version of me’. A vastly-enhanced-and-improved version, that is – as Heidi Kohlenberg was to find out. As she puts it: ‘Egor Poeur has it all; sensitivity, sexuality, wit, wisdom, and an amazing ability to tame wild dogs’; whereas Egor Falastrom has a ‘valiantly hideous nose’ and a copiously sweaty brow. Poeur is a projection of Falastrom’s dreams: the man he wishes he was.

But what about the dogs? Falastrom’s books, as the titles suggest, are full of dogs. Are they too fantastical projections; enhanced and improved versions of actual mutts? It would seem so. Falastrom does, after all, own several dogs: each a vagrant mongrel, rescued from the streets, nursed back to some sort of life and puchased, for a pittance, by the lonely writer. One of them, Samsom, he has described in interviews as ‘a pug-nosed wretch of a bull-dog with a severe dribbling disorder and three limpish legs, like charred tree stumps’.In his fiction, however, Samson becomes Sammo, a fiercely handsome beast who ‘drives bitches wild’. Thus the poor creature is generously rehabilitated – albeit in words.

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