“Afterglow (a dog memoir)” by Eileen Myles— Rosie, the Pit Bull


Myles, Eileen. “Afterglow (a dog memoir)”, Grove, 2017.

Rosie, the Pit Bull

Amos Lassen

In 1990, Eileen Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and connected instantly and Rosie became central to the writer’s life and work. They were together for 16 years. Myles was totally devoted to her dog and when Rosie died Myles felt empty. In “Afterglow”, she gives us a look at their relationship and the bond that they shared. She begins this memoir on an imaginary talk show where Rosie is interviewed by Myles’s childhood puppet to give us a “critical reenactment of the night Rosie mated with another pit bull, from lyrical transcriptions of their walks to Rosie’s enlightened narration from the afterlife” and we see what it means to be dedicated to a pet. I could easily relate to this and was reminded of the twelve wonderful years I shared with my Jack Russell Terrier, Sophie.

Myles explores the grieving process in its various aspects and shares what it is to lose something that one cars so deeply about. While this is a book about a dog, it is also a book about life. Myles, Rosie and the reader explore the themes of “geometry, gender, mortality, evil, aging, and plaids” together and we see a new kind of prose. We look at love and loss over and over again in an entirely new reading experience. As Myles mourns her dog here, she takes us into her thoughts and her visions as we read about the closeness a master and her dog shared as she, along with the reader, question our purpose in life and why we are here. This is more than a read, it is a total experience.

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