The Art of Racing in the Rain

by Garth Stein

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Chapters 30-32 Summary

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Denny offers to let Zoe stay home from school, but she insists on going. After Denny takes Zoe to school, he and Enzo go to a cafe for coffee and a sweet roll. They sit at an outside table and are soon joined by a man that Enzo describes as being not fat but very round. The man is a customer at the auto shop where Denny works, and he is a lawyer.

The man reads the papers Eve’s parents gave Denny, which state that they are suing Denny for custody of Zoe. When Denny tells the attorney that his in-laws also said that Eve had requested that Zoe live with them, the lawyer says that it makes no difference what might have been said or even what Eve might have wanted. The surviving parent is the only one who has a right to the custody of the children, so long as Denny does not have a criminal record or other extenuating circumstances that might make him incapable of raising a child. Denny tells the lawyer that his record is clean. The man says that in-laws are educated and have a lot of money, but they have no legal rights. Then the lawyer complains that grandparents are nothing but trouble. None of them think their own children are good parents. They want to raise the grandchildren so they can make reparations for their own earlier mistakes.

The man also tells Denny that he will have to pay the legal fees; he will not represent him in court in exchange for free auto care. He asks if Denny has money. Denny says he will get it. Then the lawyer tells Denny that he has nothing to worry about. The procedure will be simple, and he will contact the in-laws’ attorney. He suggests that Denny be cordial with Eve’s parents and not get angry with them. Denny will win full custody and has nothing to fear.

After the meeting, Denny takes Enzo to work with him. Enzo does not often go with him, but he has been there enough times to know most of the mechanics and other people who work with Denny. Enzo usually feels comfortable there. The men are friendly and do not mind having him around. However, on that day, Enzo feels nervous. He cannot sit still. Normally, he says, a dog does not ponder what might happen in the future, as humans do. The future is what makes most humans feel anxious: they worry about what might or might not happen next. A dog, in contrast, thinks only about what appears in the moment. A dog is content and fully focused on the present. But there is something in the air that day that Enzo can feel. He does not like it.

The day drags by. As usual, it is raining outside. When a police car pulls up to the garage doors adjacent to the auto parts store, some of the mechanics tease the police, asking if they have come to get their vehicle washed. The officers ask if Dennis Swift works there, and they want to know where they can find him. When they are taken to the lobby where Denny is, the officers tell Denny that he is under arrest. Denny says he has done nothing wrong. When Denny asks to see the warrant, he reads that he is being charged with the rape of an underage child.

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Chapters 27-29 Summary


Chapters 33-35 Summary