From the Orange Prize–winning author of A Crime in the Neighborhood, Suzanne Berne’s The Dogs of Littlefield is “sublime” (The Chicago Tribune), a suspenseful and hilarious “suburban comedy of manners par excellence” (Kirkus Reviews) that explores the unease behind the manicured lawns of suburban America.
Littlefield, Massachusetts, named one of the Twenty Best Places to Live in America, is full of psychologists and college professors, proud of its fine schools, its girls’ soccer teams, its leafy streets, and quaint village center.
Yet when sociologist Dr. Clarice Watkins arrived in Littlefield to study the elements of “good quality of life” someone begins poisoning the town’s dogs. Are the poisonings in protest to an off-leash proposal for Baldwin Park—the subject of much town debate—or the sign of a far deeper disorder?
“Nothing sucks a reader in like psychological menace, and Suzanne Berne is a master of the craft…. Her scenes are elegantly composed, and even throwaway characters jump off the page” (The New York Times). A wry exploration of the discontent concealed behind the manicured lawns and picket fences of darkest suburbia, The Dogs of Littlefield explodes with “comic exuberance and restrained beauty” (The Boston Globe).
Suzanne Berne is the author of the novels The Dogs of Littlefield, A Crime in the Neighborhood, A Perfect Arrangement, and The Ghost at the Table, as well as Missing Lucile: Memories of the Grandmother I Never Knew, part biography and part memoir. She has taught at Harvard University and at Wellesley College. Currently she teaches creative writing at Boston College and is on the MFA faculty of the Ranier Writing Workshop. She lives outside of Boston with her husband. They have two daughters.
“Berne (Missing Lucile, 2010, etc.), who won the Orange Prize for her first novel, A Crime in the Neighborhood (1997), is a sure hand at the dinner parties, school concerts, teacup tempests, and true moments of suspense that make a suburban comedy of manners par excellence. It's too bad about the dogs, but they died for a good cause.” —Kirkus (Starred Review)
“A compelling, poignant yet unsentimental novel that examines life, love and loss. Original and brilliant” –Sunday Mirror
“Very well written, devastating and funny … insightful, too. Highly recommended” –Daily Mail
“Brilliantly done. Gentle and often moving” –Sunday Times
“Well-observed shrewd satire … sharp, funny and painful. Berne takes the domestic and turns it into the majestic” –Sunday Telegraph
"Her unique voice comes through in the combination of a forensic approach to her characters’ foibles and lyrical descriptions of the changing of the seasons in New England. This is an apparently light tale but there are dark shadows in Littlefield too. Berne’s novel is both absorbing and amusing, and lingers in the memory." —The Independent (UK)
"A look at suburban life that manages to be both scathing and sympathetic, Berne’s latest is a smart,amusing satire."