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Book Review: Fifteen Dogs

I finally finished reading Fifteen Dogs. I say finally because it’s been on my list since last fall when it won Canada’s most prestigious fiction prize, the Giller Prize. I also say finally because I’ve been reading it in fits and starts over the past month. Not because it hasn’t held my attention but simply because I’ve been busy with reading for work and for my book club.

However drawn out my reading of this book, I can truly say this book is a literary masterpiece and well deserving of its many award nods. It’s successful in the way it has a driven, exciting and not wholly predictable plot, yet also is laden with layers of meaning and substance that left me as a reader thinking and wondering. I love a book that you can analyse.

I didn’t think I could love a book about dogs. Dogs are the main characters, however they stand as allegorical figures that allows the reader to think about the human condition: what it means to be human, to love, to create art and poetry. What makes us human? Our language, our culture, our instincts, our relationships? These are just some of the questions arising from the narrative in Fifteen Dogs.

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis is published by Coach House Books in 2015.


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