Picture of author.

André Alexis

Autor(a) de Fifteen Dogs: An Apologue

15 Works 1,442 Membros 85 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

André Alexis was born in Trinidad and raised in Canada, where he has lived since he was three years old. His works include Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa, Childhood, and Fifteen Dogs, which won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals and mostrar mais anthologies and he has also written extensively for radio and theater. Several of his plays have been produced in Vancouver and Toronto, and he has been a playwright-in-residence for the Canadian Stage Company. Alexis also writes reviews for The Globe and Mail, and he is a contributing editor to This Magazine, a bimonthly Canadian alternative journal. (Bowker Author Biography) Andre Alexis was born in Trinidad in 1957 & grew up in Canada. Alexis lives in Toronto. (Publisher Provided) mostrar menos
Image credit: Sari Ginsberg


Obras de André Alexis

Fifteen Dogs: An Apologue (2015) 838 cópias
Childhood (1998) 144 cópias
The Hidden Keys (2016) 119 cópias
Days by Moonlight (2019) 87 cópias
Pastoral (2014) 66 cópias
Ingrid and the Wolf (2005) 34 cópias
Asylum (2008) 30 cópias
Ring (2021) 19 cópias
A (2013) 18 cópias
Beauty and Sadness (2010) 10 cópias
The Night Piece (1999) 5 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Nome padrão
Alexis, André
Data de nascimento
Trinidad and Tobago (birth)
Canada (naturalized)
Local de nascimento
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Locais de residência
Trinidad and Tobago
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
This Magazine
Windham Campbell Award (2017)
Pequena biografia
Host and creator, CBC Radio’s Skylarking. Following his parents, who left Trinidad in the late 1950s, André Alexis and his younger sister immigrated to Canada in 1961. After a short stint in the southwestern Ontario town of Petrolia, Alexis and his family moved to Ottawa, where he subsequently spent most of his youth.

Alexis began his artistic career in the theater, and has held the position of playwright-in-residence at the Canadian Stage Company (CanStage)



Excellent. Fun to read, beautiful and clever. The allegory of what it means to be alive and to love is wonderful told. The dogs sum up the bulk of humanity—the chance, the innate nature, and the ability and or willingness to make use of a gift.
BookyMaven | outras 54 resenhas | Dec 6, 2023 |
Shifting times is difficult. Getting inside the head of a challenging character is, too. All accomplished with ease in this, Alexis' first book. Loved it. Stuck in my head well after finishing it.
Dabble58 | outras 4 resenhas | Nov 11, 2023 |
I loved the dog poems, the hiding of the name within the verse, and the way the story and style matched with classic Greek plays.
xaverie | outras 54 resenhas | Apr 3, 2023 |
Fifteen Dogs Again
Review of the Coach House Books Kindle eBook (March 23, 2015) released in advance of the paperback (April 14, 2015)

I read Fifteen Dogs in my pre-reviewing days and gave it a 5-star rating at the time. I re-read it now after seeing its recent theatrical adaptation at Toronto's Crow's Theatre in January 2023 and it was still a 5-star for me. The adaptation was excellent as well and was extremely faithful to the book.

See image at https://scontent-ord5-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/325313457_1478256539371391_29...
Publicity poster for the Crow's Theatre theatrical adaptation of "Fifteen Dogs". Image sourced from Crow's Theatre.

As can be read in the book's synopsis, fifteen dogs who are over-nighting in a Toronto veterinary clinic are given the power of human language and consciousness by the gods Apollo and Hermes. This is inspired by a bet that at least one of the dogs will die happy as a result (Hermes) vs. they will all die miserably (Apollo).
When Zeus discovered what his sons had done, he sent for them.
– How could you have been so cruel? he asked.
– Why cruel? asked Apollo. Mortals suffer. What have we done to make their suffering worse?
– He’s right, Father, said Hermes. Wipe them out if you don’t want them to suffer.
– They suffer within their own bounds, said Zeus. These poor dogs don’t have the same capacities as humans. They weren’t made to bear doubt or to know that their deaths will come. With their senses and instincts, they’ll suffer twice as much as humans do.

There is admittedly suffering and confusion throughout as the dogs struggle with their new capabilities and understanding. A conflict arises between those who accept and relish it and those who turn back to the old dog ways. This aspect of the book can be read as a metaphor for the way humans turn on each other. All of the mythological inspirations, the drama and suspense, the poetry and dog language, the comedy of interaction with humans and the pathos & fantasy were just as interesting to me the second time around. And again I found myself quite choked up at the conclusion.

See photograph at https://scontent-ord5-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/326277972_492288559723077_905...
The 6 member cast of the Crow's Theatre adaptation of "Fifteen Dogs" receive a standing ovation at the conclusion of the play.

In the end the bet is won (no spoiler), but the debate goes on:
It would have been different if we’d given cats this so-called intelligence, said Apollo.
– It would have been exactly the same, said Hermes. What we should have done was give a human the intelligence and capacities of a dog.

Trivia and Links
Until I read the Author's Afterword to Fifteen Dogs I had forgotten that the dog poetry in the book was written with an Oulipo constraint. Oulipo (short for French: Ouvroir de littérature potentielle; roughly translated: "workshop of potential literature") is prose or poetry written with some sort of constricting rule, which is meant to force inspiration. In the case of the poetry "written" by the dogs Prince and Majnoun, the rule is that within the poem the name of one of the 15 dogs must sound when the poem is spoken aloud. For instance, in Prince's first poem it is Majnoun's name in the final line (from Madge, noon):
The grass is wet on the hill.
The sky has no end.
For the dog who waits for his mistress,
Madge, noon comes again.

All of the dog poems and some other excerpts from the book can be seen in my Kindle highlights.

The 15 dog names can be seen below:
See image at https://scontent-ord5-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/326515808_955204132109881_412...
Image sourced from the Crow's Theatre online programme booklet for its theatrical adaptation of "Fifteen Dogs".
… (mais)
alanteder | outras 54 resenhas | Jan 22, 2023 |



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