The Art of Racing in the Rain

by

Garth Stein

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The Art of Racing in the Rain: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A few years later, the family experiences a very scary event. Denny had secured a seat for a race at Watkins Glen, NY. Earlier in the spring he'd taken a trip to France for an expensive testing program, which Denny told Mike his parents had paid for. Enzo had his doubts, but decided it didn't matter. Regardless, Denny had done very well because it was rainy in France, and a scout approached him one day and asked if he could drive as fast when it was dry. Soon after, Denny was offered the seat for an enduro race at Watkins Glen. Enzo adds, "that which you manifest is before you."
Enzo sees Denny's good fortune as good manifesting and planning, and we again see Denny experiencing success in the face of adversity (rain). Note Enzo's attitude about Denny's parents. They don't fit his idea of what parents should be, as he has Eve and Denny (and TV, presumably) to provide an example of close and loving parents.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
When Denny leaves for New York, everyone at home is excited to watch the race on Speed Channel. Zoë drives around in her little racecar and pretends to be a champion, and Enzo is so excited he spends time doing "idiotic dog things" like chasing things and digging up the lawn, and he remarks that it was the best of times.
When Enzo experiences an overload of emotion, he acts in a more dog-like way than his usual controlled manner of behaving more like a person. Note too that the family is going to experience Denny's expected success through television.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
It then, suddenly, became the worst of times. Eve wakes up early on the morning of the race in so much pain that she vomits repeatedly. She speaks candidly to Enzo, saying she doesn't know what's wrong with her. Enzo notes that the last time she spoke to him like this was after Zoë's birth. Enzo knows what's wrong, but has no way to tell her, so he merely stands with her and tries to comfort her, afraid. Eve says that someone is crushing her skull, and suddenly she packs some bags with clothes and toothbrushes, gathers Zoë out of bed, and leaves the house with Zoë. Enzo is left behind.
When Eve experiences intense emotion or fear, the walls between herself and Enzo begin to come down, resulting in this more candid style of communication. Enzo, however, is unable to truly communicate with Eve, and can only provide comfort—not even protection. The walls remain to a degree, as Eve neglected to take Enzo with her.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon