Monday, February 15, 2016

Going to the Dogs. . .

The 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize was awarded to Andre Alexis' "Fifteen Dogs."  The book is a short read that features a divine bet between Apollo and Hermes.  Apollo bets Hermes that dogs will be no happier if they are afforded human intelligence and self-awareness.  Those with a philosophical background will enjoy the argumentation that occurs throughout the narrative as the Gods debate the nature of the dogs' experience on earth.  The use of dogs as the main characters is also timely as canines have largely displaced actual human offspring on the desirability scale.

The Conversation:

Customer: "I just finished Alexis' "Fifteen Dogs."  Man, it was so good, I can see why it won the Giller.  I usually don't enjoy Canadian fiction - too much winter, too many bears and too many sad people."

Readers' Advisor: "I hear that!  The book was very urban and the focus on dogs was unique?  What did you like most about the book?"

C: "I really liked the argument between the Gods.  Like we are all just pawns in this game beyond our control.  I like to think of how animals are like humans or how they would behave like humans."

RA: "If I make some suggestions, would you be okay if there were no animals?  What if it focused just on philosophy or divine activities?"

C: "Nah, just the animals.  I think I want to read a few more books that feature animals in human situations."

The Search:

In my catalogue, the subject headings weren't too useful.  I did get a few options from using those, but I feel like the suggestions will come from past reading experience.  There are additional lists on goodreads and Genreflecting will have "animal stories."


Animal Farm (1945) George Orwell

Watership Down (1972) Richard Adams

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (2011) Benjamin Hale

Timbuktu (2000) Paul Auster

The Dog Master: A Novel of the First Dog (2015) W. Bruce Cameron

Project Nim (2011) film

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