Church of the Dog

Kaya McLaren

Penguin,  May 2008

Sometimes only a stranger can lead the way home.

Deep in Oregon farm country, Edith and Earl McRae are looking down the barrel of yet another anniversary with none of the joy such a milestone should hold. Instead, they are stuck in a past that holds them to heartbreak and tragedies and keeps them from cherishing their wonderful lives together.

Enter the mysterious and ever-so-slightly magical Mara O'Shaunnessey, who appears on their ranch with the power to mend long-broken fences and show them how to recognize the enchantment of their everyday lives. But Earl is facing another transition, and Edith must soon survive another unavoidable heartbreak. In the time they have left, Mara, Edith, Earl, and their wayward grandson Daniel must re-create the joy of living before it is time to say good-bye . . . .

Gracefully capturing the strange alchemy of people and places, Kaya McLaren's story of redemption and rediscovery will inspire readers to find the magic and power in every day shared with the people they love.

paperback | ISBN: 9780143113423 | Publication Date: May 2008

"Church of the Dog is a radiant novel that honors the broken among us, tenderly healing with its love, humor, and understanding. It's a classic on the spirituality of everyday life."
--Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of Light of the Moon

"What a rollicking, inviting, eccentric novel this is!"
--SARK, Author & Artist, Succulent Wild Women

"This is a sweet, whimsical tale of love and friendship, a slice of pure life. It is a beautiful story that is not to be missed."
--Lynne Hinton, author of The Friendship Cake and The Arms of God

"What a genuinely surprising novel Kaya McLaren has written, with characters that are each, in their own way, quietly magical and also heartbreakingly true. Like Barbara Kingsolver's early heroines, Mara O'Shaunnessey lives in the real world but reminds us, in all her actions, that animals can be messengers of truth and love has transformative powers."
--Cammie McGovern, author of Eye Contact

"The magic and wit and attention to place in Kaya McLaren's impressive first novel come together in a dance all their own. And don't let the smallness of the book fool you, it's big-hearted in the best sense of the word."
--Myra McLarey, author of Water from the Well

"With prose as clear and pure as mountain water, Kaya McLaren has written a testament to the plain sense of things. Church of the Dog is spiritual, even a little magical, but it's also incredibly practical. A lovely, uplifting book."
--Sarah Addison Allen, author of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen

"Kaya McLaren's sincere and generous feelings for all the creatures of this world make this novel of comforting magic both heartfelt and heartening."
--Christina Schwarz, author of Drowning Ruth and All is Vanity