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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)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Travelmug
  • 2017-12-09

Just so well written and captivating.

This story is so creative and captivating. I was so impressed with the writing. The plot - 15 dogs touched by the power of the gods - so incredibly rich with thought, careful consideration and insight into the human emotions and tendencies. I highly recommend this book. Add this to your library and share with your friends.

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  • Canada Man 613
  • 2017-10-25

stunning

one of the best books I have ever encountered. do yourself a favor and read or listen to it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-09-21

Great Book for Torontonians

I definitely enjoyed this book, and it was a very fast read. For anyone living in Toronto, you will be happy to hear mention of some local landmarks. Andre Alexis has a great voice and I enjoyed hearing the book read by the author.

It was recommended to me after my dog died, however, the book can be dark at times and wasn't much of a pick me up!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 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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  • 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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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 of 2 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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  • 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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  • 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!

3 of 4 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review 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 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