Fifteen Dogs
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Fifteen Dogs

3.78 (12,158 ratings by Goodreads)
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Winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller PrizeFinalist for the 2015 Toronto Book AwardsWinner of the 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize"[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read ... A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized." - Kirkus Reviews"This might be the best set-up of the spring." - The Globe & Mail"Andre Alexis has established himself as one of our preeminent voices." - Toronto Star- I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.- I'll wager a year's servitude, answered Apollo, that animals - any animal you like - would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence.And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet-erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.Andre Alexis's contemporary take on the apologue offers an utterly compelling and affecting look at the beauty and perils of human consciousness. By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange, Fifteen Dogs shows you can teach an old genre new tricks.Andre Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His other previous books include Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf and, most recently, Pastoral, which was also nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was named a Globe and Mail Top 100 book of 2014.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 132 x 204 x 24mm | 280g
  • COACH HOUSE BOOKS
  • Toronto, Canada
  • English
  • 1552453057
  • 9781552453056
  • 214,950

Review quote

'[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read ... A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized.'--Kirkus Reviews 'Alexis manages to encapsulate an astonishing range of metaphysical questions in a simple tale about dogs that came to know too much. The result is a delightful juxtaposition of the human and canine conditions, and a narrative that, like just one of the dogs, delights in the twists and turns of the gods' linguistic gift.' --Publishers Weekly (starred review) 'A novel about a pack of talking dogs, you say? The very idea will most likely breed thoughts of insufferable whimsy, like those paintings of mutts playing poker, or of more or less effective satire, in the vein of Animal Farm. It's a grand thing, then, that this spry novel by Canadian Andre Alexis spends its 160 pages repeatedly defying expectations ... I'm far from being a dog person, but as a book person I loved this smart, exuberant fantasy from start to finish.'--Jonathan Gibbs, The Guardian 'Over the course of this novel, slim yet epic in scope, Alexis chronicles the fates of these strangely afflicted beasts, shifting from thought experiment to comic parable to something more delicate, laden with detail, discovery and emotional nuance.' --The Globe & Mail 'A remarkable book. Insightful, wildly original and beautiful. Buy it.' --Mark Medley, Books Editor at The Globe & Mail 'Truly a privilege to read.' --Wordfest Reviews 'Alexis takes up notions of language and consciousness on a fundamental level, and what it means to have both or one without the other.' --Full Stop 'Alexis's technical skills are extraordinary. His characters are diverse and expertly differentiated, and his sentence crafting is brilliant. ... I'm not ashamed to say that I cried at the end.' --LitReactor.com 'A clever and beguiling study of human nature through the eyes of dogs.' --Largehearted Boy 'A nimble rumination on consciousness, language, love, and art.' --Albert the Dog The 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize jury citation: 'In Fifteen Dogs - Andre Alexis' powerful apologue - questions of knowledge and happiness, fidelity and fate are grounded in the real-world adventures of a group of dogs. Here is a beautifully written allegory for our times: one in which man's best friend shows us the benefits of higher consciousness - the favoured bone of fact buried where we might all find it. Fifteen Dogs is an original and vital work written by a master craftsman: philosophy given a perfect form.' The 2015 Giller jury citation: 'What does it mean to be alive? To think, to feel, to love and to envy? Andre Alexis explores all of this and more in the extraordinary Fifteen Dogs, an insightful and philosophical meditation on the nature of consciousness. It's a novel filled with balancing acts: humour juxtaposed with savagery, solitude with the desperate need to be part of a pack, perceptive prose interspersed with playful poetry. A wonderful and original piece of writing that challenges the reader to examine their own existence and recall the age old question, what's the meaning of life?' '[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized.' "Kirkus Reviews" 'Alexis manages to encapsulate an astonishing range of metaphysical questions in a simple tale about dogs that came to know too much. The result is a delightful juxtaposition of the human and canine conditions, and a narrative that, like just one of the dogs, delights in the twists and turns of the gods' linguistic gift.' "Publishers Weekly"(starred review) 'A novel about a pack oftalking dogs, you say? The very idea will most likely breed thoughts of insufferable whimsy, like those paintings of mutts playing poker, or of more or less effective satire, in the vein of "Animal Farm." It s a grand thing, then, that this spry novel by Canadian Andre Alexis spends its 160 pages repeatedly defying expectations ... I m far from being a dog person, but as a book person I loved this smart, exuberant fantasy from start tofinish.' - Jonathan Gibbs, " The Guardian" 'Over the course of this novel, slim yet epic in scope, Alexis chronicles the fates of these strangely afflicted beasts, shifting from thought experiment to comic parable to something more delicate, laden with detail, discovery and emotional nuance.' "The Globe & Mail" 'A remarkable book. Insightful, wildly original and beautiful. Buy it.' Mark Medley, Books Editor at"The Globe & Mail" 'Truly a privilege to read.' Wordfest Reviews 'Alexis takes up notions of language and consciousness on a fundamental level, and what it means to have both or one without the other.' Full Stop 'Alexis s technical skills are extraordinary. His characters are diverse and expertly differentiated, and his sentence crafting is brilliant. ... I m not ashamed to say that I cried at the end.' LitReactor.com 'Aclever and beguiling study of human nature through the eyes of dogs.' Largehearted Boy 'Animble ruminationon consciousness, language, love, and art.' Albert the Dog The 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize jury citation: 'In "Fifteen Dogs" Andre Alexis powerful apologue questions of knowledge and happiness, fidelity and fate are grounded in the real-world adventures of a group of dogs. Here is a beautifully written allegory for our times: one in which man s best friend shows us the benefits of higher consciousness the favoured bone of fact buried where we might all find it. "Fifteen Dogs" is an original and vital work written by a master craftsman: philosophy given a perfect form.' The 2015 Giller jury citation: 'What does it mean to be alive? To think, to feel, to love and to envy? AndreAlexis explores all of this and more in the extraordinary"Fifteen Dogs," an insightful and philosophical meditation on the nature of consciousness. It s a novel filled with balancing acts: humour juxtaposed with savagery, solitude with the desperate need to be part of a pack, perceptive prose interspersed with playful poetry. A wonderful and original piece of writing that challenges the reader to examine their own existence and recall the age old question, what s the meaning of life?'" "[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized." "Kirkus Reviews" "Alexis manages to encapsulate an astonishing range of metaphysical questions in a simple tale about dogs that came to know too much. The result is a delightful juxtaposition of the human and canine conditions, and a narrative that, like just one of the dogs, delights in the twists and turns of the gods' linguistic gift." "Publishers" Weekly, starred review "This might be the best set-up of the spring." "The Globe & Mail" "Andre Alexis has established himself as one of our preeminent voices." "Toronto Star" "Alexis manages to sidestep the all-too-human mistake of dissecting the intellect as an excuse to forgo emotion. Language may not always serve our kind so well, but there s a certain unspeakable feeling in the idea of a dog waiting patiently for a human friend that will never come back." "National Post" "A powerful story about what it means to have consciousness, and the good and the bad that comes with it." CBC Books "Following his Rogers Writers Trust nominated "Pastoral," protean novelist Andre Alexis returns to reclaim another almost-forgotten genre, the apologue (defined as an allegory in which animals adopt human consciousness)." "Quill & Quire" "Beautiful and strange." Stephen Cribar, Bookseller, The Book Store at Western "A really meaty read that will leave you thinking long after the last pages." Nichole McCown, Bookseller, Bookshop Santa Cruz ""Fifteen Dogs" will appeal to dog-loving youth readers (grades 10-12) and adults. They will be, no doubt, touched by the emotionally charged story and reconsider their relationships with their pets. I will be recommending this book to others for long time to come. It was truly a privilege to read." Connie Miazga, Wordfest Reviews "Alexis masterfully dissects the discrepancies in the way humans think and feel, by posing large questions, such as: What is happiness? And what makes a life truly fulfilled? Alexis makes clear that the virtues of love of being in love and loved in return is at the core of a good life." "Toronto Star" "[A] hilarious and heartbreaking meditation on love, power and the nature of consciousness." CBC Radio Q "Alexis takes up notions of language and consciousness on a fundamental level, and what it means to have both or one without the other." "Full Stop Magazine" ""Fifteen Dogs" is the best written, cleverest, and most involving book I ve read in a long time. It s funny when it wants to be and deeply philosophical without being ponderous the rest of the time. Andre Alexis s conceit that dogs could be given human intelligence allows him to explore what it means to be human in a fresh, exciting way that would be impossible to achieve if the characters were human to begin with." LitReactor.com. ""Fifteen Dogs" is truly an unexpected book. It has three of my favourite qualities, being short, ambitious, and able to make me look at the world anew. It's both a fun idea and deadly serious. I can already see that we're going to have a ball publishing it." Rebecca Gray, Serpent's Tail commissioning editor, as reported in Book Trade on the UK rights acquisition "A nimble rumination on consciousness, language, love, and art." Albert the Dog, Idlewild Books Manhattan" '[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized.' "Kirkus Reviews" 'Alexis manages to encapsulate an astonishing range of metaphysical questions in a simple tale about dogs that came to know too much. The result is a delightful juxtaposition of the human and canine conditions, and a narrative that, like just one of the dogs, delights in the twists and turns of the gods' linguistic gift.' "Publishers" Weekly, starred review 'This might be the best set-up of the spring.' "The Globe & Mail" 'Andre Alexis has established himself as one of our preeminent voices.' "Toronto Star" 'Alexis manages to sidestep the all-too-human mistake of dissecting the intellect as an excuse to forgo emotion. Language may not always serve our kind so well, but there s a certain unspeakable feeling in the idea of a dog waiting patiently for a human friend that will never come back.' "National Post" 'A powerful story about what it means to have consciousness, and the good and the bad that comes with it.' CBC Books 'Following his Rogers Writers Trustnominated "Pastoral," protean novelist Andre Alexis returns to reclaim another almost-forgotten genre, the apologue (defined as an allegory in which animals adopt human consciousness).' "Quill & Quire" 'Beautiful and strange.' Stephen Cribar, Bookseller, The Book Store at Western 'A really meaty read that will leave you thinking long after the last pages.' Nichole McCown, Bookseller, Bookshop Santa Cruz '"Fifteen Dogs" will appeal to dog-loving youth readers (grades 10-12) and adults. They will be, no doubt, touched by the emotionally charged story and reconsider their relationships with their pets. I will be recommending this book to others for long time to come. It was truly a privilege to read.' Connie Miazga, Wordfest Reviews 'Alexis masterfully dissects the discrepancies in the way humans think and feel, by posing large questions, such as: What is happiness? And what makes a life truly fulfilled? Alexis makes clear that the virtues of love of being in love and loved in return is at the core of a good life.' "Toronto Star" '[A] hilarious and heartbreaking meditation on love, power and the nature of consciousness.' CBC Radio Q 'Alexis takes up notions of language and consciousness on a fundamental level, and what it means to have both or one without the other.' "Full Stop Magazine" '"Fifteen Dogs" is the best written, cleverest, and most involving book I ve read in a long time. It s funny when it wants to be and deeply philosophical without being ponderous the rest of the time. Andre Alexis s conceit that dogs could be given human intelligence allows him to explore what it means to be human in a fresh, exciting way that would be impossible to achieve if the characters were human to begin with.' LitReactor.com. '"Fifteen Dogs" is truly an unexpected book. It has three of my favourite qualities, being short, ambitious, and able to make me look at the world anew. It's both a fun idea and deadly serious. I can already see that we're going to have a ball publishing it. ' Rebecca Gray, Serpent's Tail commissioning editor, as reported in Book Trade on the UK rights acquisition 'A nimble rumination on consciousness, language, love, and art.' Albert the Dog, Idlewild Books Manhattan"
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About Andre Alexis

Andre Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His other previous books include Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf and, most recently, Pastoral, which was also nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was named a Globe and Mail Top 100 book of 2014.
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Rating details

12,158 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 28% (3,377)
4 37% (4,541)
3 24% (2,906)
2 8% (952)
1 3% (382)
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