Fifteen Dogs won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2015 and it was the Canada Reads winner in 2017. This is the first book I have read by Andre Alexis, but I'm sure that it won't be the last. The story begins in Toronto, where the gods Hermes and Apollo are having a drink at a bar as Greek mythological gods will do. They wager a bet on whether or not animals would die happier or not if they had human intelligence.
In order to test their theory, they choose fifteen dogs from a veterinarian clinic. They give them human consciousness and watch their lives play out. Some of the dogs don't embrace change well, some interact with people and some are remarkably loyal.
This apologue, which I learned is a moral fable with animals as characters, was such a unique, witty and thought provoking book. You don't have to be a dog lover to enjoy it, but if you are, you will probably look at your dog a little differently. I do often wonder what my dogs are thinking. Maybe I don't really want to know.
The writing is clever and moving. Dog people know that our dogs say more about us than we do about them and I believe that's true here as well. These fifteen dogs say more about humanity and it's not always a pleasant story.
There are two handy maps at the beginning that are handy. If you know Toronto, you will recognize many different Toronto locations as you follow the dogs throughout their lives until their death. Yes, you need to be prepared for all fifteen dogs to meet their demise in order to know who won the bet. It can be heartbreaking, so prepare yourself because it is worth the read.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛