60 pages 2 hours read

Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2008

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Teacher Introduction

The Art of Racing in the Rain 

  • Genre: Fiction; contemporary 
  • Originally Published: 2008 
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 850L; college/adult 
  • Structure/Length: Approximately 321 pages; approximately 6 hours and 56 minutes on audiobook
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: Narrated by Enzo, a philosophical dog with a nearly human soul, the story explores the life of his owner, Denny Swift, a race car driver and customer representative in a Seattle BMW dealership. The central conflict revolves around Denny’s personal and professional challenges, including his wife’s illness, custody battles over his daughter, and his career aspirations, all seen through Enzo’s understanding and belief in the power of the human spirit. 
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Themes of illness and death; legal and familial struggles; mild violence and conflict

Garth Stein, Author 

  • Bio: Born in 1964; an American author and film producer best known for The Art of Racing in the Rain; Stein’s work is recognized for its exploration of human emotions and relationships through unique perspectives 
  • Other Works: Raven Stole the Moon (1998); How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (2005); A Sudden Light (2014)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • The Philosophy of Racing
  • Death and Rebirth
  • The Bonds of Loyalty

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Teaching Guide, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the cultural and social context regarding race car driving and the Buddhist concept of reincarnation, both of which shape the book’s core message.
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By Garth Stein