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Fifteen Dogs (Quincunx, #2)
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Fifteen Dogs > Question #1: First Impressions

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What expectations did you have, if any, before starting this book? What were your first impressions?


Eric | 16 comments I haven't read a book involving animals with human characteristics since I was a child, I somehow got through high school and university without having to read Animal Farm, so I was hesitant to see if it would work. First impressions as I read through the first chapters were positive, there was actually great character development for the dogs and (without revealing too much) a lot intense action pretty quick. Another positive first impression was the description of the city of Toronto; the included map helped but I loved how I could vividly picture many of the areas described.


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Kyra | 2 comments I picked up this book because I believe that the dog-human connection is unlike any other interspecies relationship, and that dogs share our capacity for pain, pleasure and many other 'human' feelings. I was very interested to see the author's approach at portraying canine behavior, and how he planned on 'humanizing' them. Like Eric, I loved the initial depiction of the dogs' personalities and it was immediately apparent that Alexis had done his research on dog psychology. I fell in love with Majnoun's character right off the bat!


Kate (arwen_kenobi) | 100 comments Mod
The wager itself is what got me. I think I was just as curious as our Greek Gods were - not as curious as to wager servitude on it but definitely curious! I loved the opening of the two of them just hanging out in a cafe in Toronto.


Ashley | 116 comments Mod
I was skeptical of this book before I started reading; I really wasn't sure what to expect, not having read any books with similar plots. Unlike Eric, I had read Animal Farm in high school, but didn't anticipate this being similar. To be honest, I think my initial thought was that a book about "talking dogs" was going to be hokey. However, very quickly I realized this is an incredibly smart and engaging text. I quickly became engrossed in the plot and the characters, feeling deeply concerned about the wellbeing of the dogs, their interactions between each other, and with humans.


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Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "The wager itself is what got me. I think I was just as curious as our Greek Gods were - not as curious as to wager servitude on it but definitely curious! I loved the opening of the two of them jus..."
I have to admit, Kate, that anything with Greek Gods is very difficult for me to read. It brings back nightmares of studying them in grade eleven English!


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Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Ashley wrote: "I was skeptical of this book before I started reading; I really wasn't sure what to expect, not having read any books with similar plots. Unlike Eric, I had read Animal Farm in high school, but did..."
I would have to say that I was skeptical, too, Ashley. But since the book won the 2015 Giller Prize and Writer's Trust Prize, I thought it must be well done. It's certainly not the type of fiction I normally read.

As for first impressions, I am so glad the author included a cast of characters list at the start of the book. The maps of Toronto neighbourhoods were also helpful. I find it hard to read books in which a whole bunch of characters are introduced right at the beginning, because I find it hard to remember who is who. I found this throughout Fifteen Dogs, but especially at the start.

Like Kyra, I liked Majnoun from the start, and liked him more as the story progressed.


Susan | 130 comments I really didn't have any expectations as i had not recognized the title (head hung in shame). I was intrigued after reading the outline about the gods sitting in the Annex in Toronto and making their bet. I also loved that it was set in Toronto as I could visualize most of the areas. I saw the cast of characters at the beginning of the book but didn't appreciate it until later on. I will save other comments for the questions that will follow this one.


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Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I really didn't have any expectations as i had not recognized the title (head hung in shame). I was intrigued after reading the outline about the gods sitting in the Annex in Toronto and making the..."
No need to worry about not recognizing the title, Susan ... I think this book took a lot of people by surprise! It has enjoyed great success for its small Canadian publisher, Coach House Press.


Gayle | 3 comments Beautifully written, I can certainly see why this book won the Giller prize this year! But I found it very philosophical in nature--not my cup of tea. I did really like Majnoun, though. The wager was too fantastical for me. I know there's been many comments from those who really enjoyed it and I can see your point of view.


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Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Gayle wrote: "Beautifully written, I can certainly see why this book won the Giller prize this year! But I found it very philosophical in nature--not my cup of tea. I did really like Majnoun, though. The wager w..."
Thanks for your comments, Gayle. I think this book is one that people might either really like or dislike. I'd have to say that if it hadn't gained attention because of the Giller and other prizes, I probably would have skipped it.


message 12: by Ashley (last edited Jul 27, 2016 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ashley | 116 comments Mod
It's interesting how a lot of us seem to have the same thought, that they probably would have skipped this novel, or were skeptical of it before starting. I guess it's a good thing the Giller Prize grabbed our attention so we could at least have a solid opinion.

I think perhaps the tension comes from the accessibility of the novel in contrast to the level of emotion is evoked from the reader. The plot is actually quite simple, and the story is quick to read. But the ideas are frustrating, and the events can be quite upsetting. And both aspects may be appealing or off-putting to different readers.

For instance, I thought: "a book about talking dogs? So silly!" But then when I read it, was surprised by the depth of ideas and emotions evokes. Where others may have been pulled in by the plot line, but then turned off by the philosophical nature of the writing and actions of the characters.

I would guess this complexity helped with the Giller


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