Part memoir, part extended essay, this quiet, understated book makes the case for the natural bond between writers and dogs ... In the most entertaining portions of the book, Humphreys looks at the canine companions of famous writers ... Humphreys’ tone is unobtrusively observant and emotionally restrained. You won’t find Marley & Me levels of sentiment here. Her prose tends to simplicity and lucidity ... The connections sometimes feel forced, though, and Humphreys doesn’t have a lot to say about the nitty-gritty realities of writing ... One gets the sense she mostly wants to talk about dogs, but feels obligated by the book’s subtitle to connect her dog discussions to the literary life ... Humphreys is on much firmer ground when she talks about how a dog can break up the desk-bound routine of writing ... Humphreys’ thoughts on dogs and happiness are also poetic and profound.
Fig’s arrival does offer the opportunity to ponder the question: What does a dog bring to the writing life? ... Other writers crop up with their pets, but rarely in enough detail to be illuminating. We are treated to Anton Chekhov’s observations about his two dachshunds, for instance—who bore the doctorly names Bromide and Quinine—but Humphreys’s only observation about Chekhov is that his story 'The Lady with the Dog' in fact features a Pomeranian. At its heart, the book is really a lament for Charlotte, Humphreys’s comfort during a period of losses, and a tribute to the complete understanding they enjoyed together. And a Dog Called Fig is both a closely observed portrait of dogs and a meditation on the ways they can enrich humans’ lives.
... [a] tender tribute ... Intriguingly, she describes the process of writing as akin to that of caring for a puppy—from finding structure in daily strolls, to discovering the perfect setting ... Dog lovers will find this a treat.