Dog People

A novel by Cris Mazza

May 1, 1997 • 6 x 9 • 288 pages • 978-1-56689-055-7

Mazza’s bizarre ’90s characters communicate better with their dogs than their lovers. Rich detail, dramatic conclusion!

Six individuals have the ability to communicate with humans; three turn to their dogs for solace. Mazza uses canine training philosophies and behavior in a story in which a fascist dog trainer, lesbian dancer, ineffectual interior designer, and a love-starved caterer spend time in Southern California’s green, eucalyptus-scented parks learning how to interrelate without biting.

As marriages crumble and careers falter, Doreen and Fanny join forces to create a dog/wolf hybrid. Along the way, Fanny comes to realize the banality of her life stems from her expectation that intimate relationships will compensate for her failures. After sex therapy with her husband Morgan, a near affair with prima dancer Renee, and a friendship-turned-romance with her employer, Fanny breaks free and takes back control over her life. Mazza deftly fuses The Truth About Cats and Dogs with Basic Instinct.

About the Author

Cris Mazza is the author of How to Leave a Country, Your Name Here: ___, Exposed, Dog People, and Is It Sexual Harassment Yet? She was also co-editor of Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction (1995), and Chick-Lit 2 (No Chick Vics) (1996). Mazza’s fiction has been reviewed numerous times in the New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Ms. Magazine, Chicago Tribune Books, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Voice Literary Supplement, and many other book review publications.

A native of Southern California, Cris Mazza grew up in San Diego County. She is a graduate of San Diego State University and Brooklyn College. Mazza has taught fiction writing at UC San Diego, and was Writer in Residence at Austin Peay State University and at Allegheny College. Since 1993 Mazza has lived outside Chicago. She is a professor in and director of the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In spring 2000 Mazza was the Chairholder in Creative Writing in the MFA program at the University of Alabama, and was an NEA grant recipient in 2000-2001.


“The connection Cris Mazza makes between dogs and their people is startling, hilarious, comforting, and terrifying. Dog People is an ingenious novel from a storyteller who is clearly an authority in more than one animal realm.” —Valerie Sayers, author of Brain Fever

“One of the most impressive America novelists of our contemporary age.” Spectrum Review

“A lesbian dancer, fascist dog trainer, would-be male dancer, ineffectual interior designer, and a love starved caterer compose the tangled cast of Cris Mazza’s Dog People. In this complex exploration of human behavior, Mazza turns to canine training philosophies for both solace and guidance. As a marriage crumbles and careers falter, the characters in Dog People brutally learn that loving another species is so much easier than loving each other. Mazza is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of seven novels and short-story collections. Her talent as an imaginative storyteller is demonstrated by her ability to deeply engage the reader from the very first page.” Midwest Book Review