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Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis Review

Title: Fifteen Dogs

Author: André Alexis

First published March 23, 2015

171 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781552453056 (ISBN10: 1552453057)

Rating: 3.8


“Have you ever wondered what it would be like if dogs could talk and think like humans?” This is the question that sparked a bet between the gods Apollo and Hermes. The wager leads to a group of dogs in a veterinary clinic in Toronto being granted human intelligence overnight.

As the pack adjusts to their new way of thinking, they become divided between those who embrace the change and those who resist it. Follow the dogs as they navigate a new and unfamiliar world, each struggling with their own thoughts and feelings.

André Alexis’s contemporary take on this classic tale offers a unique and captivating look at the beauty and dangers of human consciousness. With its meditative yet devastating tone, this book will leave you enchanted and questioning what it truly means to be human.

About the Author

André Alexis, a Trinidad-born author, spent his formative years in Canada. He has written several books, with his latest novel, Fifteen Dogs, earning him both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2015.

His debut novel, Childhood, was also highly acclaimed, winning the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Book Award, and was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Alexis has also written other books, such as Pastoral (which was a nominee for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, and more.

Editoral Review

In Fifteen Dogs, André Alexis artfully explores the complexities of human emotion and the inherent limitations of language through the eyes of fourteen canines and one wolf. Published in 2015, this novel is a unique addition to the genre of animal fiction and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Giller Prize.

Set in Toronto, Canada, the story begins with the gods Apollo and Hermes wagering for the fates of fifteen dogs. They grant them human consciousness and communication, leaving them to navigate their newfound abilities and desires.

The pack is forced to confront existential questions about the meaning of life, love, and free will, as they grapple with the joys and suffering that come with self-awareness. Alexis’ writing is poetic and elegant, weaving together the perspectives of the pack in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Despite the limited vocabulary of the dogs, Alexis manages to capture the essence of their personalities and their unique experiences. In doing so, he creates a vivid and fully realized world that is both imaginative and grounded in reality.

The themes of Fifteen Dogs are universal, resonating with readers of all ages and backgrounds. At its core, this novel is a meditation on the limitations of language and the power of empathy.

Throughout the story, the pack is constantly searching for ways to communicate their thoughts and feelings, and the reader is left to ponder the extent to which language shapes our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. While there is no denying the beauty of Fifteen Dogs, some readers may find fault with the pacing of the novel.

The plot can be slow at times, and the jumps between the perspectives of the dogs can be disorienting. However, these minor flaws are outweighed by the overall impact and message of the story.

Overall, Fifteen Dogs is a masterfully crafted work that speaks to the human condition in a profound and unique way. It is a must-read for fans of animal fiction, philosophy, and literary fiction alike.

As Washington Post puts it, “Towles draws a line between the social maladies of then and now, connecting the yearnings of his characters with our own volatile era. He does it with stylish, sophisticated storytelling .

. .

The novel embraces the contradictions of our character with a skillful hand, guiding the reader forward with ‘a sensation of floating – like one who’s being carried down a wide river on a warm summer day.’”

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