Fifteen Dogs

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Fifteen Dogs by André AlexisFifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
Published by Coach House Books on March 23rd 2015
Source: Library
Pages: 160
Buy from IndieBound


It starts with pure curiosity between the gods—if given human intelligence, would animals be more or less happy than humans? The question sparks a bet between Hermes and Apollo, and soon a group of fifteen dogs waiting in a veterinary clinic find themselves capable of higher thinking. The dogs come together in a pack, but struggle to deal with their new found intelligence, perceptions, and language in different ways, while constantly under the watchful eyes of the gods.

Fifteen Dogs has the makings for a mess. It starts with Greek gods in a bar, moves to talking dogs, and tosses in some violence and a heavy dose of philosophy for good measure. But it works. And it works because each of those elements has a specific purpose and place. The framework of the gods helps ease readers into the premise of the novel, making the shock of a talking dog feel less Disney and more Animal Farm. That transition also helps soften the blow of the frequent, sometimes violent, deaths that occur within the pack, as they’re expected in a story questioning happiness at the end of life.

Yet, that question isn’t as simple as the gods expect. It raises other questions about human nature, happiness, and fulfillment, both for the gods and the dogs they watch over. Though still incredibly accessible, Fifteen Dogs will challenge readers to ask themselves the same questions, and may leave them puzzling over the answers.


  • I’m so glad you loved this. And there are so many things to think about in this book. It was a while before I could look at dogs the usual way again. Especially my own, which is exactly the same kind of dog as Majnoun. :)

    • I’ve definitely been more aware of how I talk to my dog, too! Thanks for recommending such a great book.

      • I’m glad you liked this book too. It’s so unique and thought-provoking, and really does make you think about how we talk to dogs.

  • Heather

    This sounds so good! I always wonder what animals would be like if they had human intelligence. I think my budgies would be plotting their revenge on me for drowning them in kisses. I’m putting together a list of books for the October readathon and I think this will be a perfect addition. Thanks for reviewing it!

  • This sounds so interesting! I’m putting it on my own TBR list, and am also going to tell Graham about it – he has a very narrow interest range for novels, but this sounds like something he’d like.

  • Now that it’s on my stack I have to work to get to it! I’ll be back to read your thoughts once I do, thanks for forcing me to buy this one. :)

  • Hmm, well I’m intrigued! I’m glad to hear this one worked out well for you.

  • Oooooh, and it’s under 200 pages!! This one may have to go on my next Readathon list, Shannon; thank you!

  • Amanda

    I think you’ve sold me on this one too Shannon. I’m very curious to see how this concept plays out.

  • Oo, that’s a fun premise! I think I’d mainly be worried about it getting cutesy — did you feel like this did?

  • Definitely agree with the Animal Farm comparison! Just minus the hardcore political analogies, haha.

  • Soooo on the fence about this one, but knowing you loved it does work in its favor.

  • This book sounds really thought-provoking. I like the cover too. Thanks for the review!

  • I just don’t know if I could handle all the dog deaths! Did they jar you too much?

    • Actually, since the dogs take on human characteristics, it almost feels like reading a story about humans and the deaths didn’t bother me as much as animal deaths usually would.

      • Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I’m much better at dealing with human than animal deaths. THEY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. Sniff.

  • What Shaina said :) The animal deaths make me very nervous to pick this up!

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