Book Reviews

Fifteen Dogs – André Alexis

This was very interesting. I purchased it on a Canada Day sale of audiobooks by Canadian authors with not a lot of idea as to what to expect.

It’s the first novel/fiction book that I’ve listened to as well. It was read by the author which I always feels helps in audiobooks. The only other audiobook I’ve heard bits of is when my sister listens to Harry Potter, and I seem to remember there being a few “voices” for the different characters. This book though, was about dogs who got human capacity of thought and speech so not really one for accents/voices as such. However, it was easy to follow and I enjoyed it.

The plot was cool – and the synopsis is what drew me to it. Basically the gods Hermes and Apollo are drinking in a pub and they are talking about why humans always seem to end up miserable. They wonder if it’s to do with the complexities in body and life, so they have a wager as to whether a less complex being with the same intelligence would end up sad too. They decide to experiment and give 15 dogs that happen to be in the local veterinary clinic that night human-level conscience and stuff and monitor them to see if they’ll die happy or sad. So it’s really interesting seeing how they all act once their intelligence increased and how some shun their old “dog” ways, some embrace it more but with superiority over other dogs, some start a new pack, some return to owners, some learn human language and memorise poetry, etc it’s a really interesting concept and a very well written book!

It’s like a commentary on humanity without being about humanity…

I was googling it afterwards to find out more about the author and it turns out it’s actually one of a series – “A planned cycle of a five novel quincunx that will examine faith, place, love, power and hatred”. I’d be interested to read one of the others as opposed to listening. I have my suspicions that it might be a harder book to read and quite slow – but I’m not sure if I think that just because Alexis had a very deep, deliberate and measured voice to listen to…

Medium: Audiobook

When: July 2020

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