Lives of the Monster Dogs Paperback – 15 Jan 1998
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About the Author
Kirsten Bakis was born in Switzerland to parents of Estonian origin and grew up outside New York where she now lives. After graduating from New York University, she attended the prestigious Iowa University Writer's Workshop where she was taught by, among others, Saul Bellow. She is 28 years old and works part time as a secretary in a small church in Manhattan.
Top Customer Reviews
The novel moves between the Cleo Pira’s reminiscences of her time as the monster dog’s official biographer and the diary and papers of Ludwig von Sacher, the monster dog’s historian. It is through Ludwig that we learn the story of Augustus Rank, the man who created the monster dogs. As a child the brilliant Augustus Rank would surgically operate on small animals trying to create, ‘Frankenstein’ like, a hybrid of birds and mice; more specifically, attempting to transplant the wings of birds onto mice. At the age of thirteen he successfully removes the forelegs of a cow and reattachments them on opposite sides. This activity brings him to the attention of a Dr. Buxtorf a professor of surgery at the University of Basle. Sometime after that Rank, under the patronage of Wilhelm II, begins to work on creating an army of monster dogs.
Kirsten Bakis’s novel can be read as an allegory, a fable or a satire. And with all due credit to the author it works on all levels. The novel is a superb, strange, fascinating tale that can be amusing, heartbreaking and thought provoking.Read more ›
Well worth reading.
However, I found myself avidly reading this book from start to finish within the day. It helps that the style is fluent and easy to read, but I also wanted to discover how the fate of the monster dogs came to pass.
In many ways, we cannot like the dogs, and we most certainly cannot like their creator at all, but we are still interested in them.
Worth a read, if you can get over the fact that it will never happen in reality.
In my opinion, surely this aspect is forgivable in a work of fiction?
The shortfall was the point of the story. Oh, I could see the overall point by reading the book jacket, but that isn't enough. Where is the meat to the book? The depth? There are simply too many holes in the story, which I won't delve into since others already have, for the story to be fully realized. Despite the years that she spent writing this, it needs more work, and is typical of the great-idea, average-execution that one often sees in writing, film, and the other arts. But, Bakis' creativity is a huge strength. I came close to giving up until I got to the opera. How beautiful! I know it was funny -- the mere idea of the Monster Dog Opera is. But, the opera also did more to advance the story of the dog's background, the point of their suffering, the acuteness of their moral dilemnas, the contradictions of their history, and in highlighting the difficulties that the dogs would ever have in fully becoming a part of human society, than did any of the fairly dull conversations, and attempted conversations, between Cleo and Ludwig. That section alone made the book worthwhile for me. As to whether or not the reader of this review will like it -- who knows? But, I will at least read the jacket of her next book, and come back to this forum for recommendations. Not great, but promising.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't be fooled by the ratings. I read this book for a book club (and I will use this book to beat the person who suggested it) otherwise neither the name nor the topic would have... Read morePublished on 1 April 2014 by Whatsapenname?
Why this book is out of print now and why The author didn't then follow it up is a mystery to me, it's one of the best I've ever read...Published on 26 May 2013 by Jenna Edwards
This is a rare jewel of a book. It is a first novel, and here and there has a first novel's rawness of technique. Read morePublished on 21 Jan. 2013 by terencedemontecristo
This book was a pleasant surprise. It was witty and thought provoking and takes an unexpected route. The mixture of first person and historic writing.Published on 25 Oct. 2012 by HJ
Lives of the Monster Dogs is essentially two books. Ludwig von Sacher's story speaks of the past, of assorted documents and blanks that even the desperate German Shepherd and... Read morePublished on 2 May 2009 by Atli Hafsteinsson
Loads of great ideas, but all the big ones are thrown at you in the first few pages and so much of the rest of the book is an elaboration of them that nothing much actually... Read morePublished on 14 April 2009 by A. D. Diament
Lives of the Monster Dogs may owe much to Mary Shelley and H.G Wells but it is a unique experience, well imagined and delivered. Read morePublished on 19 Feb. 2009 by Wordy
Lives Of The Monster Dogs came decked with words like "Dazzling", "Moving", "Brilliant" and so on on its cover. Read morePublished on 25 Oct. 2008 by lurgee
The Lives of the Monster dogs should have been an exceptional novel. It has an intriguing premise and all the elements required for a gripping plot - dastardly scientists, loyal... Read morePublished on 11 Jun. 2006 by BookAddictUK