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Cover image for To dance with the white dog : a novel
To dance with the white dog : a novel
Publication Information:
Atlanta : Peachtree Publishers, ©1990.
Physical Description:
179 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Sam Peek's beloved wife has died and the mysterious white dog stays with him until just before his own death.


Call Number
Kay, T.

On Order



A moving story of love, grief, and coming to terms with death.
A moving story of love, grief, and coming to terms with death. The story of elderly Sam Peek, who is still mourning the death of his beloved wife when a mysterious white dog appears, seen only by him. Real dog or phantom, White Dog soothes Sam's grief, brings him closer to his family and reconciles him with his own mortality.

Author Notes

Terry Kay was born February 10, 1938 in Royston, Georgia. He grew up there and became a well known novelist. Perhaps his most well-known book is To Dance with the White Dog, which was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in 1983. He is also the author of such best-selling works as Dark Thirty, Shadow Song, After Eli, and The Runaway. He won an Emmy for his screenplay Run Down the Rabbit. Kay's novel The Valley of Light won the 2004 Townsend Prize for Fiction. He won the 1981 Georgia Author of the Year Award for After Eli, and the Southeastern Library Association named him Outstanding Author of the Year in 1991 for To Dance with the White Dog. He published The Book of Marie in 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography) Terry Kay, Terry Kay grew up in Royston, Georgia on a farm that had no electricity. He was an entertainment reporter at the Atlanta Journal where he reviewed over 300 films a year. Needing more money, he took the position as creative director for a television and film development company. That job lasted a year, and he went on to public relations.

Kay wrote the bestseller "To Dance with the White Dog," which Kay describes as "more of a translation of what had happened in my family than the creation of a book," and "The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene." Aaron Greene is a shy teenager who works as a mail boy at a bank and whose family could never afford the ten million dollars his captors are demanding. The story tells of the philosophical motives the kidnappers have for this unlikely abduction, which sets off a nationwide frenzy to find this average boy.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Kirkus Review

A powerful--if occasionally programmatic--mythic narrative about a man who loses his wife and lives through years of grieving with the help of a mysterious white dog. Sam Peek, ""one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees,"" is a journal-keeper, and the novel sometimes uses his entries to good effect to accentuate his emotional tone: ""Today my wife died. We were married 57 years."" His loving family cares for him, but they also discuss him in his presence, as though he weren't aware of it, in ""sad, worried voices"" (""Old man that he is, what's to become of him?""). Slowly, however, he's left to himself, and for company a white dog appears. Sam's children, of course, assume he's hallucinating, but as the story deepens they begin to glimpse the dog. The details of his everydayness--a round of chores and errands, of Bible-reading and radio programs--are contrasted with the mythic sense of the white dog. As the daughters ""talk constantly to one another over the phone about their father,"" Sam goes into and out of the hospital, watches the dog race him to his wife's grave at the cemetery, and finally goes off in his track with the dog for a ""reunion"" to the place where he proposed to his wife. He gets lost, naturally, and the family is beside themselves, fearing violence, searching everywhere; but Sam, asleep in his track, is found by a preacher who believes in ""divine accidents, or interventions."" Sam returns home, develops an interest in genealogy, and slowly dies of cancer. When his daughters move in to help him through his last days, the dog disappears, and shows up again only (via pawprints Sam's son sees) on the grave Sam finally shares with his wife. An austere yet vivid effort--Kay's fourth (Dark Thirty, 1984; After Eli, 1981, etc.)--that manages to texture a plethora of everyday details with a kind of subtle, supernatural resonance. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.