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➽ [Download] ➺ Fifteen Dogs By André Alexis ➸ –

It Begins In A Bar, Like So Many Strange Stories The Gods Hermes And Apollo Argue About What Would Happen If Animals Had Human Intelligence, So They Make A Bet That Leads Them To Grant Consciousness And Language To A Group Of Dogs Staying Overnight At A Veterinary Clinic Suddenly Capable Of Complex Thought, The Dogs Escape And Become A Pack They Are 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 Unfamiliar Territory, 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 Engaging And Strange, Full Of Unexpected Insights Into Human And Canine Minds, This Contemporary Take On The Apologue Is The Most Extraordinary Book You Ll Read This Year

10 thoughts on “Fifteen Dogs

  1. says:

    Edited my first review was harsh And although I stand by my overall evaluation, I don t really want to slam this little book, a Giller prize winner and recognize that I am decidedly in the minority on it This book was disappointing It failed for me in three main ways 1 The authorial voice left me uninspired I found it monotonous and entirely lacking in humour for a book that seemed tailor made to be chockablock with whimsy or dark comedy or both I found that the most dramatic moments were telegraphed a mile in advance and then they were quickly over I was never fully engaged In fact, I was often bored.2 The author doesn t seem to know dogs at all He seemed to be falling back on the idea of dogs as pack animals who exist entirely on a dominance submissiveness continuum a theory long since discredited in doggie circles as a superficial understanding of the complexity of dogs emotional, social, and behavioural repertoires I ve read a lot of non fiction about dogs, and so I pay a lot of attention to how dogs are portrayed and how they are used as devices in literature Don t get me wrong, I didn t want this book to do a good job on doggie psychology but I definitely wanted it and needed it to do a good job on what that psychology would be like when infused with human consciousness This was the great potential of the central conceit, but it wasn t done convincingly I was looking for anthropomorphism of a specific sort here not the manipulative kind, but the compelling, thought experimental kind There were only small glimmers of it at the end with Majmoun, which was too late and too expositional.Without this, I had no connection to the dogs No emotional investment in them No interest in their characters or their lives and therefore view spoiler no interest in their deaths My interest waned as the body count climbed, and since that happened really early on, for the most part, my interest was barely sustained for about 3 4s of this book hide spoiler

  2. says:

    A doggone clever and moving bookIf animals were granted human intelligence, would they die happier or unhappier That s the intriguing question at the heart of Andr Alexis s imaginative novel, the most recent winner of Canada s prestigious Giller Prize.The gods Apollo and Hermes, dressed like hipsters and drinking Sleemans, are considering this one night at a Toronto bar Apollo says animals with human intelligence would die even unhappily than they would otherwise he s willing to bet a year s servitude on that Hermes agrees, and says that if just one animal dies happy, he ll win.Since they re passing a veterinary clinic when discussing the wager, they decide to bestow human consciousness on the 15 dogs left there overnight The remainder of the book explores what happens to those canines, from their breakout several figure out how to release themselves from their cages to their deaths, some violent, others peaceful.The result is equal parts survival story, socio political parable and Philosophy 200 course on what it means to be human Think Watership Down or Animal Farm as told by the gods The dogs Hmm dog is god spelled backwards, right form a hierarchy, deceive one another, fight, kill, split off into factions and then there s the matter of who gets to hump whom Alexis, a poet and fiction writer, has great fun with the premise, especially around the idea of language One of the dogs becomes a poet, which enchants some and angers others A couple of them learn how to speak English and interact with humans And this is a very olfactory book There s a heightened attention to smells, for obvious reasons.There s also a lot of literary humour When Majnoun, a clever black Poodle, is rescued by a couple of well read types, the humans discuss what to call him Why don t you name him You think we should keep him Why not Once he gets better he can keep you company during the day Okay Why don t we call him Lord Jim You want to name him after the world s most boring book If I wanted to do that, I d call him Golden Bowl.Lest you get confused about the characters, there s a helpful dramatis canes at the beginning which tells you each dog s name and breed And two beautiful maps show you the areas in the city where the canines cavort.Among other things, this is a wonderful Toronto novel, beginning in a familiar local watering hole the Wheat Sheaf Tavern and travelling all over the city, from High Park and Bloor West and over to the Beach It ll make you think about group dynamics, love and what separates us from animals And it ll make you pay a bit attention next time you pass a crowded dog park Also be sure to read the author s note at the end Just as dogs hear certain noises we can t, there are surprises hidden in the text for you to, er, sniff out.

  3. says:

    Woof Woof woof wruf wuf Woof woof Grrrr.Wruf wuf Whimper.Goddamn it Fuck you, Apollo Woof wuf Wuf.sobs uncontrollablyTranslation to follow once I stop crying.P.S Wrrruuff woof Giller Prize wuf.

  4. says:

    If George Orwell decided to write his allegorical Animal Farm in 2015 instead of 1945, he might have come up with something like Fifteen Dogs.On second thought, scratch that I don t think anyone not George Orwell, not Paul Auster with Timbuktu, not Jack London with Call of the Wild could ever come up with something quite this sui generis although they ve all done some darn good writing of their own.Fifteen Dogs is, to put it quite simply, remarkable The premise is quirky Zeus s two sons, Apollo and Hermes, come up with an extraordinary wager they will instill select animals with human intelligence and communication skills If, at their life s end, any of the animals is happier than he or she might have been, Hermes is the victor, if, however, human intelligence leads to misery than contentment, Apollo will prevail It is decided that the fortuitous fifteen will be 15 canine patients of a nearby veterinary clinic.At first, there s a lot of dogs to keep straight fortunately, the author helpfully provides a cast of characters but eventually, the action focuses on just a few Majnoun, a black poodle Benjy the Beagle and most compellingly, Prince, an amicable mutt who is also a poet Here are some musings from Majnoun as he tries to decipher the state of being human What would it be like, for instance, to be unable to distinguish the smell of snow in winter from the smell of snow in early spring What kind of world was it in which one could not, blindfolded, distinguish the great range in the taste of water or smell when a female was in heat To be so limited Inconceivable This book is philosophical in the best of senses, dealing with concepts of individual freedom vs pack conformity, the old ways vs the new ways, domination vs submission, tortured knowledge vs mindless happiness, and The questions at the crux of the book are some of the most important of all time What does it mean to be alive to love, to think, to suffer, to feel, to communicate, to question Where do we all canine and human fit into the world and when does our dedication to who we are rise to being unique and noble What happens when we become strangers to our own kind and to our very nature Andre Alexis weaves in a fair amount of subtle, yet laugh out loud humor as he inhabits the dogs perspectives Yet his fifteen canines are essentially noble creatures, and he never plays a scene strictly for laughs This is really a wonderful book You don t have to be a dog lover to love it but for those of us who are, special treats are waiting.

  5. says:

    4.5 Stars Second Book of Alexis QuincunxCANADA READS 2017 WINNER CONGRATS TO ANDR ALEXIS In 2000, the Baha Men famously asked, Who let the dogs out Little did they know that it would be over a decade before Andre Alexis would answer that question in his Giller Prize winning novel Fifteen Dogs.Alright, alright, Fifteen Dogs has nothing to do with that significant piece of musical culture The unique, heartfelt, and surprisingly philosophical Fifteen Dogs is a beautiful novel, through and through The premise is as follows Hermes and Apollo are having a discussion over a few pints in a Toronto bar when a wager is suggested The gods will grant fifteen dogs human intelligence and wager on the unlikely event that one of the dogs dies happy It is then that the reader meets the titular fifteen dogs as they come into consciousness Despite a seemingly immense cast for a novel under 200 pages, many of the dogs meet untimely ends early in the novel and a few hounds rise to be the book s leads The dogs perspectives in the novel are revelatory These are not just dogs that can think like humans, they struggle with their canine nature amidst these newfound mental capabilities.Though the plot may seem outlandish and slightly juvenile, the novel s aspirations are lofty Alexis grapples with the very questions that have plagued humanity for all of our existence source pending what does it mean to be human What is love Would we find faith without being led to it These topics and many others are covered in believable and realistic passages as the dogs each decide on different paths in their lives Of particular note is the humor and realism that Alexis creates as the dogs puzzle out the behavior of humans These scenes are equal measures hilarious for the dogs misinterpretation of human activities and profound as the dogs come to grips that they are similar but separate from the rest of society I can t honestly think of a book I ve read that is quite like Fifteen Dogs Alexis writing is confident, the characters are believable, and his situations naturalistic The book is filled with wit, and the unique perspective of the dogs provides a reading experience that is quite unlike anything else I ve encountered What s , as far as award winning literature goes, Fifteen Dogs is not excessively challenging, but highly rewarding If you re embroiled in a heavy work schedule or a daunting academic semester, Fifteen Dogs would make a fine choice Update February 2017 I ve decided to pass on most of this year s Canada Reads selections after being disappointed with the 2016 selections and having lots of reading on my plate With that said, and having read none of the other selections, I d recommend spending time with this one

  6. says:

    Not sure what to say about this book It did impact me deeply, though probably not for the same reasons the author intended This was a mostly dark and bleak look at humanity To be honest, I found it quite upsetting.The premise of the book a bet between gods whether 15 dogs, gifted with human consciousness, would die happy meant seeing each dog through to it s death I generally don t like stories, whether they be books, tv shows or movies, that take us on the full journey to death It nudges all of my unresolved feelings over mortality and leaves me feeling anxious Add to this the fact that these fifteen dogs did not have great lives and I just felt somewhat sick while reading, mixed in amongst vast amounts of crying.This was well written and thought provoking, but I can t help but feel a little resentful for these dark themes and images that have pierced my happy bubble.

  7. says:

    It felt like I was under a magical spell to read this novel about a pack of dogs who were granted the power of human speech and thought The gods Apollo and Hermes made a bet on whether the fifteen dogs would end up their lifes as happy or miserable creatures Having human thoughts and feelings proved to be mostly unfortunate, if not dangerous and bewildering for the dogs Only a few dogs experienced friendships with humans and developed an appreciation of beauty The majority of the dogs preferred to violently oppose to it, but realised at the same time that they could rationally made that decision which, in itself, was not really doggie like behaviour.Allow me to quote a few poems of the poetical dog Prince who had the misfortune to realise that his poems would be lost forever upon his demise, as he was the only dog in history who ever wrote and recited poems The lake comes to the fringeWhile lights go up around the bay.Somewhere near, cow flesh is singed.Smoke floats above the walkway.I ve eaten green that comes up black,Risen cold from torrid mud.I ve licked my paws and tasted blood.What is this world of busy lies Some urban genie feeding food to flies Prince s last poem What is the name of he who comesWith eyes closed and fingers black,The one who draws the curtains backWhen dawn has come Agha Thanatos or just plain Death When will I know which is right I thought those poems of Prince are wonderful It is certainly very revealing to have humans watched and commented upon from the point of view of dogs Andre Alexis wrote an extraordinary and also touching tale Thanks to Roger Brunyate for pointing out this book to me Just a P.S you don t have to be a dog lover to appreciate this novel

  8. says:

    Okay, I m half way through this book and I am not sure how I lasted this long The author obviously knows nothing about dogs To settle a bet, two Greek gods give 15 dogs in a pound human attributes, including speech And they pretty much all turn on each other many die Is this a commentary on human behavior using dogs Whatever it is, it lacks any credibility even with the willing suspension of disbelief It is a poorly written book with a bunch of characters who basically become assholes I don t care where the book is going I quit I live in the area where the book is set I enjoyed seeing my neighborhood in a book for about, oh, five pages And then the ridiculousness of the story got to me and overcame any enjoyment seeing my neighborhood in a book gave me.

  9. says:

    My dog can t talk I checked again this morning His answer to pretty much everything I say is to play bow and growl at me.Andre Alexis s book is about fifteen dogs who can suddenly talk and reason like humans and it seems tailor made for college freshmen Alexis gets an opportunity to blitz us through Philosophy 101 as they wrestle with their new sentience the dogs, I mean, although watching freshmen wrestle with their new sentience is also entertaining One of the qualities his ideal dog possessed was being, one dog muses therefore the dog of dogs had to exist, and here s Anselm s ontological argument in all its inanity.Alexis s dogs are obsessed with status, a primary theme of the book who is humping whom Status is not of immediate concern to me, so this theme had limited resonance But as a guy who spends a lot of time in dog parks, I can confirm that status is of immediate concern to dogs I m not sure whether Alexis chose to write about dogs because he was interested in status, or to write about status because he was interested in dogs I do think his interest in status goes beyond philosophy, though Look, you can t help but notice sentences like this Masters have agreed that their submissives must be bound to them with leashes and collars If you were a master, would you keep me on a leash And in case you think I m reading too much into that, Alexis goes ahead and throws a full on human bondage sex scene right in there Hegel has something to say about masters too, and we re not not talking about Hegel but we re talking about sex too There s a current of kink through this book.It s a fast read, plenty entertaining, and it comes off as a college book It has some neat ideas but nothing crazy deep The squeamish may be put off by that healthy but kinky human sex scene, a variety of dog on dog action, and or the many deaths it s stated up front that dogs will die.Not my dog, of course My dog will live forever Good boy He glances at me sideways, very quickly, and then play bows.

  10. says:

    Strange that I don t want to write a review for this, because a review won t do it justice If you re a dog lover, this book will wreck you, and I mean that in the best way possible Astounding, heart breaking, and easily among the best books I ve read this year.