Synopsis: Hermes and Apollo, the ancient gods are arguing in a bar, and decide to give human consciousness to a group of dogs. They bet on the outcome, with Apollo thinking that it will make them more miserable, and Hermes saying that he will win if even one is happy at the end of their life. The majority of the story revolves around the pack, and how they actually cope.
It reminded me quite a lot of Lord of the Flies when the dogs first begin to come to terms with the human thoughts, in that the stronger dogs prey on the weaker ones, targeting those that are different out of fear. I loved the concept of using Greek gods in such a way, and Alexis is a strong writer, able to give all of the fifteen canine characters their own quirks and traits.
Majnoun is one of the two dogs who escape the massacre, and he manages to get to safety of a human couple’s home. He develops a bond with the woman Nira, to the extent that she discovers that he understands English. Alexis even allows him to develop a opinion on human films, and books, expressing his views on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen when he has been living with Nira for two years.
The whimsical tale is a easy and yet thought provoking read, and I have been trying to track down Alexis’s first book Childhood, to see what that is like. He’s a writer that I think I will be reading more of in the future, well provided that he maintains such a standard.