Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
"One evening in Toronto, the gods Apollo and Hermes" decide that the only way to determine whether human intelligence contributes to happiness is to grant it to 15 dogs and see whether they die happy. This audacious beginning of the latest novel from Alexis (Childhood, winner of the Books in Canada First Novel and Trillium Book Awards) places the book firmly in the ancient tradition of stories about the immortal gods placing wagers on mortal activity. The gods' interference allows Alexis to neatly sidestep potential criticism that he has anthropomorphized, sometimes leveled at works that try to imagine the inner lives of animals, while he ruminates on aspects of human society including political structure, the nature of dominance, the role of the weak, religion, authenticity and performativity, love, and art. Clearly familiar with canine behavior, Alexis manages to encapsulate an astonishing range of metaphysical questions in a simple tale about dogs that came to know too much. The result is a delightful juxtaposition of the human and canine conditions, and a narrative that, like just one of the dogs, delights in the twists and turns of the gods' linguistic gift. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.