My Dog Tulip: A Memoir (Library)

J. R. Ackerley (Author) Ralph Cosham (Read by)


Distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought himself a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came into possession of a German shepherd named Tulip. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the ideal friend he had been seeking in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their sixteen-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip's often erratic behavior and very canine tastes and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.

My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as a stroke of genius by New York Magazine and the love story of the year by Vanity Fair.

Product Details

Blackstone Audiobooks
Publish Date
August 01, 2011
6.5 X 0.9 X 6.2 inches | 0.55 pounds
Compact Disc
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

J. R. Ackerley (1896-1967) was for many years the literary editor of the BBC magazine the Listener. A respected mentor to such younger writers as Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden, he was also a longtime friend and literary associate of E. M. Forster. His works include three memoirs--Hindoo Holiday, My Dog Tulip, and My Father and Myself--and a novel, We Think the World of You.

Ralph Cosham (1936-2014), a.k.a. Geoffrey Howard, was a British journalist who changed careers to become a narrator and screen and stage actor. He performed in more than one hundred professional theatrical roles, and several of his narrations were named "Audio Best of the Year" by Publishers Weekly. In 2013 he won the coveted Audie Award for his narration of Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery.


"[Ackerley's] descriptions of Tulip have the power to shake up our sentimental preconceptions about dogs, and dogs' relationships to men; and they twinkle with the electricity of felt compassion and love."

-- "New York Times"

"Tulip is a love story, in which the object is honored by being observed as herself...As he examines Tulip's life, he maintains his purity of intent, speaking only of what he has seen and thought and felt, resisting literary trickery, sentimentality, or editorializing, finding humor where it resides naturally, reaching eloquence through both his gift for detail and the depth of his commitment."

-- "New York Times"

"This is the funniest, most poignant, and, consider yourself warned, preeminently disgusting of all the great dog books. First published in 1965, it portrays in the most affectionate terms what the dogless tend to consider outrageous transgressions."

-- "Boston Globe"

"The love story of the year."

-- "Vanity Fair"

"Sublime and amusing."

-- "Philadelphia Inquirer"

"In its own quirky fashion, Ackerley's wry valentine to his beloved pet is as much a book about the difficult art of living and loving as it is a dog story."

-- "Publishers Weekly"

"One of the bona fide dog-lit classics."

-- "New Yorker"

"A stroke of genius."

-- "New York Magazine"

"[Ackerley] aimed to shock, and his success was heightened by the soap-bubble sparkle and lightness of his prose."

-- "New Criterion"

"One of the greatest books ever written by anybody in the world."

-- "Truman Capote"

"By far the best 'animal book' I've ever read."

-- "Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author"

"I love this book because it shows respect and profound understanding of the animal on its own terms."

-- "Armistead Maupin"

"This is one of the greatest masterpieces of animal literature."

-- "Christopher Isherwood"

In the introduction to this 1956 book, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas compares it to an Elizabethan sonnet. She's quite right. Ackerley's descriptions of his Alsatian and his accounts of their experiences (especially visits to the vet) and his unabashed love for her are poetic indeed. Narrator Ralph Cosham makes this sublime memoir even grander with his precise yet warm and humane delivery. The old-fashioned love affair between owner and dog becomes even more poignant when one learns that others who knew Tulip pronounced her a terror. In addition to Tulip and her four-legged friends, many wonderful and eccentric dog owners are also introduced. Cosham does each human and canine justice. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine [Published: AUGUST 2011]

-- "AudioFile"

"Narrator Ralph Cosham makes this sublime memoir even grander with his precise yet warm and humane delivery...Cosham does each human and canine justice."

-- "AudioFile"