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Penny Rush has problems. Freshly divorced from her mobile knife-sharpener husband, she has returned home to Santa Barbara to deal with her grandfather, who is being moved into a retirement home by his cruel second wife. Her grandmother, meanwhile, has been found in possession of a sinister sounding weapon called 'the scintilltor' and something even worse in her woodshed. Penny's parents have been missing in the Australian outback for many years now, and so Penny must deal with this spiralling family crisis alone.
Enter The Dog of The North. The Dog of the North is a borrowed van, replete with yellow gingham curtains, wood panelling, a futon, a pinata, clunky brakes and difficult steering. It is also Penny's getaway car from a failed marriage, a family in crisis and an uncertain future. This darkly, dryly comic novel follows Penny as she sets out in The Dog to find a way through the curveballs life has thrown at her and in doing so, find a way back to herself.