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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 (657 ratings)

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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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Fabulous

Listened it in less than two days. An audible page-turner that is positively addicting.

4 people found this helpful

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Listen to this book! It was amazing!!!

This book was so refreshing. Many authors follow a tried and true format, this was like nothing I've ever read. The only negative was the narrator's voice. He was hard to listen to on a few words throughout the book, but that couldn't take away from the story. Loved hearing about the Toronto neighbourhoods and I loved the images the author painted. I can't recommend it enough!!!

3 people found this helpful

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Great story, but...

I love the idea of this book, but I think I would have enjoyed it more through reading. Unfortunately for me, I had a hard time with the narrator's voice; I tend to turn bass off and treble up in order to hear spoken word best, and unfortunately the deep, rich voice of the nareator/author did not work well for me.

3 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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it will leave you feeling terrible

the book was free....I want my money back.
The perspective on humanity is disheartening. yuk.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good

I didn't really think I would like this story, but it captured me and I couldn't stop listening. The story was amazing and the narration was perfect. This gem was worth the listen.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kim
  • 2020-07-08

Author spends too much time talking about the streets of Toronto

I liked that it was a different take on our perception of how animals think. But the author went on too much about the street names in Toronto. On and on and on. First ¾ of the book was better then the last ¼.

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Keep you thinking about after you finished

Good books are keep coming back to you after you finished them, and even for a long time. This is one of them. The background story is simple, but then you dive in into the personalities and souls of dogs and humans. Despite the amazing understanding of dog's thinking (that makes it sometimes very funny), it is actually mainly about people, relationships and life.
I didn't like that one of the dogs was called "Majnoun" as it a downgrading and offensive in Arabic and Hebrew.

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Wonderful throughout; at times heartbreaking.

Flowing prose. Superb narrator/voice. Want him to read everything to me. Can't speak of the dogs. Too raw.

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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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 people found this 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 people found this helpful