Fifteen Dogs is a hard book to sell. In words, its premise sounds silly: a bunch of dogs are given human intelligence via a wager between two Greek Gods. The wager? If dogs have the same intellect as humans, would they live happier lives? Typically “what if dogs were as smart as humans” is a hypothetical scenario more fit for Disney than literary adult fiction. But Canadian author André Alexis takes a more philosophical approach, exploring morality, depression, and our perceived “places” in society. Oh yeah, and there’s lots of doggy deaths, too.
Although there are fifteen dogs in the book, the novel focuses on just a core handful: Prince, the poet; Majnoun, the fair leader; Atticus, the religious enemy; and Benji, the conniving Beagle. The fifteen initially start off as a pack, even inventing their own language that only they can understand. But when a rift splits the pack in two sides, the dogs quickly realize that this new consciousness might be more a curse than a blessing.
For dogs lovers expecting some kind of fictional look at behavioral theory, this book is not for you. However, for those who like experimental fiction, particularly ones that gut punch you in your dog-loving heartstrings, Fifteen Dogs is a novel quite unlike any other.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, July 27th, 2016||No Comments »|
Anxiety is one of those subjects that innately resonates with creative people. I’m not sure why the two go hand-in-hand, but if Gemma Correll’s The Worrier’s Guide to Life taught me anything, it was that this problem affects a lot more people than anyone realizes. Maybe it’s society’s relentless nature to make us work more and rest less that makes us seek solace inside our minds. Whatever the case, it’s a subject that’s hard to put your finger on in words, which is why Catherine Lepage‘s Thin Slices of Anxiety takes a different approach.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, June 10th, 2016||No Comments »|
In the wake of great Latin American authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, a new generation of writers have emerged that has captured the attention of the public, albeit more sporadically than their predecessors. One of these writers is Isabel Allende, a Chilean woman whose most famous work, La Casa de los Espiritus (The House of the Spirits), brought her great praise, to the point of being compared to the aforementioned literary giants. But today’s recommendation will be about another well-received writing venture of hers: Cuentos de Eva Luna.
Published in 1989, the stories in Allende’s collection are encapsulated by the classic ‘framing’ technique of having character Eva Luna (who previously appeared in another novel) narrate the tales to her lover. The stories themselves are a joy to read, having a colorful cast of characters that could only belong in the world of Latin American magical realism. Allende sure borrows some of Garcia Marquez’s style, but all good artists know that nothing is ever original. You can tell her stories are unique and from a fresh perspective, and are a bit more in tune with the contemporary world.
|Recommended by Stefano Llinas||Monday, March 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
When most people hear the name Cleopatra VII they think of Elizabeth Taylor thanks to the famous 1963 movie of the same title. But what did the real Cleopatra look like? Unfortunately, unless a lucky Egyptologist stumbles across Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony’s mummies and is able to identify them beyond a shadow of a doubt, no one will ever know for sure. However, author Stacy Schiff, who wrote Cleopatra: A Life, discussed what the legendary Queen probably looked like during her 2010 appearance on PBS’s Tavis Smiley Show.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, November 4th, 2014||No Comments »|