Fifteen Dogs – André Alexis (2015)

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Trinidadian-Canadian author André Alexis’ book Fifteen Dogs is the second of his planned quincunx of philosophical novels, following 2014’s Pastoral. While it is part of an overarching saga, it is effectively a stand alone novel and does not need to be read in conjunction with the previous work. The premise of this book is that gods Apollo and Hermes decide to wager a bet on whether animals would live happily should they be granted the cognitive and language abilities of humans. The ultimate decision seems to to fall on whether the dogs die happily, more so than whether they live happy or miserable existences. Part Animal Farm, part Lord of the Flies, part philosophical treatise, Fifteen Dogs is a heavy read, with deeper meanings and themes than one might expect. It is enjoyable, however, I would not classify it as purely a pleasure read. This book of geared towards readers who question what it is to be human, and what our base instincts might be. 171 pages

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