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Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole

A Novel

Hans-Olav Thyvold, Marie Ostby (Translated by), Chandler Crawford Agency Inc. (Translated by)


List Price: 26.99*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (8/17/2020)
Paperback, Spanish (8/23/2022)
Paperback (12/14/2021)
Paperback, Large Print (12/14/2021)


Told through the eyes of a very grumpy yet lovable mutt, a funny and touching tale of aging, death, friendship, and life that proves sometimes a dog's story is the most human of all.

Tassen has always been a one-man dog. When his human companion, Major Thorkildsen, dies, Tassen  and Mrs. Thorkildsen are left alone. Tassen mourns Major by eating too many treats, and Mrs. T by drinking too much. But the two unexpectedly find common ground in researching Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole led by a pack of intrepid dogs.

But the quiet days Tassen  and Mrs. T spend together at the library researching the explorer’s arctic adventure are disrupted by the arrival of her son and daughter in-law. Eager to move in to the Major’s spacious house, they plan to send Mrs. T to a nursing home. As he contemplates his own fate, Tassen shudders to think what might happen to him! Yet Tassen and Mrs. T aren’t about to give up. Inspired by Roald Amundsen and his dogs, this unlikely pair are ready to take on anything life throws at them.

Good Dogs Don’t Make It to the South Pole is a darkly comedic and whimsical portrayal of aging and death told through a dog’s friendship with an elderly woman. 

Translated from the Norwegian by Marie Otsby

Praise For Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole: A Novel

"Tassen is a believable, matter-of-fact narrator, bringing us into his world with Mrs. Thorkildsen, her dragon water, her love of books, and Roald Amundsen’s all-important dogs. Thyvold’s moving, inspirational tale is a real treat."
Library Journal (starred review)

"What is the big question in life? 'How did we get here?' 'Is there an afterlife?' No.  It is 'What is my dog thinking?' Thank you Hans-Olav. Now I know. "

— Stevie Van Zandt

HarperVia, 9780062981653, 320pp.

Publication Date: August 18, 2020

About the Author

Hans-Olav Thyvold was born in 1959 and has published several nonfiction books on topics ranging from Roald Amundsen to Bruce Springsteen. He has also worked as a journalist, radio and tv host. Good Dogs Don't Make it to the South Pole is his first work of fiction. He lives in Oslo, Norway.