Sun Dog is my first novel. I’m very fond of it. In August 1999, there was a solar eclipse of the sun. The same day I had a daydream about a man bursting into flowers. I named my hero August after the month of his birth.
A sun dog is a meteorological phenomenon – sometimes it is called a ‘mock sun’. Due to atmospheric conditions, sometimes, what looks like a second fake sun can bee seen in the skies around or above the real sun. These fake suns are tricks of the light or sun dogs; they can be seen anywhere and in any season, at any time of the year. Look out for them.
I used this idea as a title for the book. It’s a metaphor which describes August’s conflict with himself: he comes to realise he’s been living with a fake identity. As he finds out the truth, a grand and visceral metamorphosis takes place; he harmonizes with himself and the seasons around him. Sun Dog is a coming of age novel, a story of individuation. It’s set in a delicatessen in Shepherd Bush and could be described as a work of magical realism.
It was first published by Scribner, in 2002. I am delighted that it has been re-launched in April 2011. My favourite character in the book, after August, is a talking cheese called a Mimolette.
It had lots of nice reviews. Here are some of them:
“This book sharpens the appetite for life”
Lindsay Clarke, author, The Chymical Wedding
“Enchanting, Roffey handles this modern-day metamorphosis beautifully; her imagery is original, the story completely beguiling”
Eithne Farry, Daily Mail
“Full of sensuality…a delightfully unusual debut”
Katie Owen, The Times
“It’s rare to read a novel with such great heart”
Hannah Pool, The Guardian
“With its salivating fetish for sensuous Italian food, Roffey’s comic magical-realist fable about the importance of self-knowledge and human connections is like a kind of west London hybrid of Joanna Harris’ Chocolat and Hans Christian Anderson: completely whimsical, but also temptingly more-ish”
“Roffey’s debut is quite magical…a brilliant idea, brilliantly executed”
“A mellow tale… Roffey is razor sharp on the daily humdrum….sun dog is a striking and original first novel”
Dazed and Confused
“Few first novels have a protagonist so instantly unforgettable as August Chalmin…Roffey’s writing is as compelling and beguiling as her central character. There will be few first novels this year that have the same sensuous appreciation of language…this is a debut novel much to be admired“
Waterstone’s Books Quarterly
“Roffey strikingly captures her protagonist, deftly portraying his angst in this fascinating study of self-knowledge and love. An excellent debut”
Good Book Guide
“A warm, erotic novel”
The Big Issue
“This is an extraordinary first novel. Buy it then tell you friends to do the same”