Fifteen Dogs: 09/05/17
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis won the Scotiabank Giller prize in 2015 and was the CBC Canada Reads book this year. It's another examination of the human condition from a canine point of view.
The set up is this: Apollo and Hermes are at a bar getting drunk and they get to talking smack. Out of their drunken banter, comes a half baked plan to see what will happen if dogs are given human sentience and language. They bestow these gifts (or curses) on fifteen dogs overnighting at a nearby veterinary hospital.
The remainder of the book is the outcome of the lives of these dogs. Some of them were strays. Some of them were beloved pets. Some were abandoned.
Dogs suddenly being able to talk and think like humans isn't a new or unique story idea. These types of stories range from all sorts of age groups and genres.
For instance, there's the yellow lab who accidentally ate alphabet soup and gained the ability to speak: Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh — which was the basis for a PBS children's series of the same name.
On the science fiction / thriller front, there's Plague Dogs by Richard. On the literary fiction front, there's the offbeat, I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story by Pete Nelson. On the political / social commentary front, there's A Dog's Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov.
I ended up having the same problem with Nelson's novel as I did with Alexis's, in that I kept comparing these literary dogs to the much sillier and earnest Martha.