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Fifteen Dogs

Written by: André Alexis
Narrated by: André Alexis
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (149 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 24.12
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Publisher's Summary

"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 veterinary 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.

André Alexis' 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.

©2015 André Alexis (P)2016 ECW Press

What the critics say

"[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)
"...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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, unique, and entertaining!

I’ve been meaning to read this Canada Reads winner for quite some time and I am so glad I finally did!

It is thoroughly entertaining, thought-provoking, and completely unique.

If you love Toronto, dogs, and are amused by Greek mythology, I guarantee you will love this book.

If you like 2 out of 3 of the above, you’ll still really like it, trust me :)

#Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Don’t understand hype

I may have missed something - but I really didn’t find the book all that inspiring or interesting. I found it pretty depressing. Cool that it was set in Toronto though.

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An amazing book!

I loved the whole idea of this book and every character and the presentation! A mindful contemplation of how we relate to and communicate with everything on the planet! I will no longer limit my expectations of birds, cats, dogs etc...just in case they’ve been gifted with language! Wonderful book.

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Fascinating and beautiful! I love this book!!!

Although this story clearly comes from the author's imagination it is steeped in reality. I particularly liked the portrayal of humans being overly emotional while dogs are more practical and straightforward. And in the end the love between people and dogs is very poignantly portrayed.

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Okay read, rambling

The narrator is pompous, the prose rambles. I really enjoyed the insight into the dogs' lives

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Loved

Loved the book - the awards won are well justified. The timber and cadence of the reading were wonderful listening. Highly recommend

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Dog years

The final hour of this e-book drags on incessantly and I found myself wishing time would pass as if in dog years.

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Dogs

#Audible1
My heart hurt after reading this book!
I was torn. I don’t know if I liked it or didn’t liked it. I think a little bit of both.
I love the authors style of writing and his creativity. As a lover of dogs, I feel I take away even more knowledge and compassion towards dogs, but not towards humans.
Shelly

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Love this book!

This is such a cool story. Part Greek Mythology, part dog story, part human story. Nature vs nurture. What happens if all us domesticated animals are allowed to run free with no rules? How would we handle it. Do we need a leader or can we all get along in harmony? How do we eat? Where do we shelter? Who do we love, hate and fear.
The story told through the eyes of dogs who escape cages and ownership. The story of these dogs depicts an all too human story.
Eerie and spooky, but also sweet and sad at times.
I loved it!
#audible1

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Deep and emotional story

Loved the narration and the emotion behind the reading. The story was engaging and had me wanting to keep listening! The story brings he reader into the mind of each character unlike any other title. I’ve actually enjoyed this title more than once already and likely will again. #Audible1

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Davina Daly
  • 2017-06-29

What Sentience Is

I truly believe that all beings have some degree of sentience. If only we humans would open wide our definition and see that the ability to speak does not set the bar.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kenna D Marshall
  • 2017-06-28

Depressing.

Depressing. To give dogs the thoughts and behaviours of humans takes away my hope. Dogs are so pure and honest. I prefer to continue to think of them this way. It's an interesting concept, but the story just made me sad.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace
  • 2017-08-18

Very good story but not exactly light-hearted!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it to be a quick and engrossing read. A friend loaned it to me when my dog passed away and I was expecting an uplifting light story about the kindness in dogs. Instead it is an extremely thoughtful - and at times dark - tale about the complexities of human intelligence, with a very poignant ending. I would recommend this to the modern day philosophers and thinkers, and specifically any of you who live in Toronto!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Riff Raff
  • 2017-01-05

I couldn't stop listening!

I just finished and am too overwhelmed to write a review that would not include spoilers.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jade
  • 2016-10-21

Fantastic!

Fifteen Dogs is a beautiful and moving narrative. This recording offers a fantastic reading by the author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lala
  • 2017-04-07

A phenomenal exploration of humanity

Five stars all round! Alexis manages to capture the conflicts of human existence in a way that both rings true and feels unique. He's a great reader, though there are a couple production hitches. I loved this book!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary
  • 2017-08-10

Lord of the Fleas

A sort of Lord of the Flies in reverse, in which we see what happens when beasts are bestowed with human intellect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gregory Stringer
  • 2017-04-11

Canada reads

Can tell why the book won Canada reads. It excellent and well thought out really gets you into the dogs mineds

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anne
  • 2016-04-28

Read this book!

This is a great read. Apollo and Hermes make a wager about whether dogs could be happy if they were bestowed with human intelligence. The ensuing tale is a real page turner.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Laureen Miki
  • 2017-04-24

Wonderful, unique

This is the first dog story I have come across that gives new insight into "dog-ness" which, aside from all the other philosophical questions raised, gives refreshing food for thought for any dog lover.

I found the book delightful: thought-provoking, tender, humourous.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful