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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

Critic Reviews

"[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 listeners say about Fifteen Dogs

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

6 people found this helpful

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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!

5 people found this helpful

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I couldn't stop listening!

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

4 people found this helpful

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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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Fantastic!

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

3 people found this helpful

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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!

6 people found this helpful

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Canada reads

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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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interesting read

I read this at the recommendation of a friend. I really like the concept and the way it followed reality. We are a dog-eat-dog world, and it put that in perspective. I appreciate that I fell in love with some of the characters and mourned when they were gone (I don't think this is a spoiler--we have to expect death when you read the description). I felt the end didn't fit the book--it felt abrupt and didn't mesh with the rest of the story for me. The author was so thoughtful throughout, then it just ended. I am not sure if I would ever read this again, but I am glad I did. I thought the performance was lovely and gave the characters real personalities.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon customer
  • 10-18-20

Absolutely loved this book

I bought this book for the title, being a dog lover.
It gave me several things to think about as well as enjoyment, from philosophy and psychology to the nature of dogs. It gives us thought that can also be applied to our modern social media society.
Brilliant!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-24-19

A beautiful and moving book

I have had two dogs and found the author deeply understood and reflected the relationship between dogs & humans beautifully. A moving and imaginative book. Loved it.

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  • The Kind Peach
  • 05-22-17

My Favourite Book

This reading is gripping and the tale tragic but poignant.

I first encountered this book at a train station and couldn't put it down until I was finished. The audiobook was just as engaging and added new elements to the book's poetry (especially during a second listen).

I high recommend this title.

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  • Samantha
  • 10-22-20

Emotional but brilliant

I couldn't give this book 5 stars purely because of how emotionally intense it is to read.
However, in every other regard it is written and spoken beautifully, with undertones of philosophical insight woven into the entire story.
I would recommend anyone thinking of reading it, to definitely do so.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-13-16

A parable of what troubles us

This is almost a perfect book. it is clear about what it is, setting us up from the beginning to see that it is a parable. It does not labour is points giving us enough to investigate some of the most troubling thoughts about our mortal limits. It takes you into an otherly world.

The narration by the author is a joy