Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
Well written and compelling, Fifteen Dogs was an unexpected pleasure. A charming and contemplative journey that explores the complexities and beauty of human thought.
Through the tale of a group of dogs who are given the “gift” of human language, André Alexis examines the depths of human essence — and our capacity for intimacy, love and understanding.
After gaining human intelligence, fifteen dogs must learn to survive with their new and strange awareness. The pack soon discovers that consciousness comes with a price and chaos ensues.
The author weaves a delightful and heart-wrenching story about the dogs’ experiences using their voices — from their awakening through to their eventual acceptance of their “gift”.
I especially loved the relationship between the canine, Majnoun and the human, Nira. Their road to understanding and their deeply shared intimacy, made me reflect upon the nature of language and consciousness. What does it mean to truly understand another being? Can beings achieve real happiness? How is language a barrier to understanding and can it be a bridge to pure love? How does language keep us apart and how does it foster belonging and harmony?
Fifteen Dogs is a bittersweet and endearing novel that depicts the beauty and vulnerability of human consciousness. Alexis’ clear, easy to read prose offers his audience a set of unique characters and a thought-provoking theme. A book that, I think, would generate a lot of discussion for anyone and especially any book club. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves language and likes to explore human nature.