Home > 2008 books > “After I was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned”, Dave Eggers

“After I was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned”, Dave Eggers

So, I’ve been thinking about what I want to write about and even though it’s not the last thing I read, here we go:

After I was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned“, Dave Eggers
A dog narrates a story about his life.

My sister showed me this story. She has only read it once.

I knew I wanted to talk about this short story. But I also knew I hadn’t been drinking enough water to do so. To give you an idea. So this is a story told by Steve, a dog, who is a very fast runner. He runs all over his city/town, watching people. He has a park where he races his dog friends, and they try to jump two banks over a storm drain. Sometimes dogs get hurt there. Steve gets hurt there.

I suppose that I should say that we had to put my dog down about a year and a half ago, but I still miss her and love her, and I still feel like I’ve been punched in the chest when I talk about her.

I also feel punched in the chest when I talk about this story, because Eggers does a really excellent job of catching the “voice” of a dog. He, Steven, rambles and talks much too fast, gets distracted, sees too much, understands everything, and then is off again in a flash. The use of short sentences is superb. There is such simplicity and clarity of emotion in them.

First lines

OH I’M A FAST DOG. I’m fast- fast. It’s true and I love being fast I admit It I love it. You know fast dogs. Dogs that just run by and you say, Damn! That’s a fast dog! Well that’s me. A fast dog. I’m a fast- fast dog. Hoooooooo! Hooooooooooooo!

My dog was part greyhound, and this is how she ran, tongue falling out of her mouth, eyes crazy, terrifyingly fast, and turning “like there wasn’t even a turn”. She’d run like she was going to bowl you over, but bank at the last second.

Last lines

Everyone in the life before was cranky, I think, because they just wanted to know.

Oddly– no, that’s not right: perfectly–, the fast dog talk reminds me of my sister’s best friend, my roommate, almost as much as it reminds me of my dog. She came home while I was thinking about this story, and I explained that I had read it, and that’s why I was crying and blowing my nose. She scrunched her face up and said that she doesn’t know why it makes my sister and I cry– it makes her happy. This is why she is the dog.

More quotes, spoiling:

I see in the windows. I see what happens. I see the calm held-together moments and also the treachery and I run and run. You tell me it matters, what they all say. I have listened and long ago I stopped. Just tell me it matters and I will listen to you and I will want to be convinced. You tell me that what is said is making a difference that those words are worthwhile words and mean something. I see what happens. I live with people who are German. They collect steins. They are good people. Their son is dead. I see what happens.

Damn, I’m so in love with all of this.

You just cannot know.

my claws grabbing at the earth like I’m the one making it turn.

They’re slow but they are perfect things, almost perfect.

When I see them I want to be in love with all of them at once. I want us all to be together; I feel so good to be near them.

We have to feel strong to make it.

I feel good. My eyes feel good, like I will see everything before I have to. I see colors like you hear jet planes.

You should do this sometime. I am a rocket.

I want deeply for these twins

After I died, so many things happened that I did not expect.

I wanted him to be happy. I wanted the squirrels to jump and be happy as we dogs were. But they were different than we were, and the man who threw me to the river was also different. I thought we were all the same but as I was inside my dead body and looking into the murky river bottom I knew that some are wanting to run and some are afraid to run and maybe they are broken and are angry for it.

The one big surprise is that as it turns out. G-d is the sun. It makes sense, if you think about it. Why we didn’t see it sooner I cannot say. Every day the sun was right there burning, our and other planets hovering around it, always apologizing, and we didn’t think it was G-d. Why would there be a G-d and also a sun? Of course G-d is the sun.

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  1. golden
    June 8, 2009 at 8:52 am

    can anyone summarise this story for me?

  2. veronica
    May 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    can anyone tell me the name of the dog

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