A postmodern Mary Shelley, taking the parable of Frankenstein's monster several giant steps farther, might have written this fable of a novel about a tragic race of monster dogs--in this case, genetically and biomechanically engineered dogs (of several major breeds). Created by a German mad scientist in the 19th century, the monster dogs possess human intelligence, speak human language, have prosthetic humanlike hands and walk upright on hind legs. The dogs' descendants arrive in New York City in the year 2008, still acting like Victorian-era aristocrats. Most important, the monster dogs suffer humanlike frailties and, ultimately, real suffering more serious and affecting than the subject matter might at first glance suggest.
Cosmopolitan Manhattan of 2008 embraces a new breed of immigrant in this weird, fanciful tale of surgically enhanced, talking, bionic canines out on the town as they search for their history and place in the world. Conceived by 19th-century Prussian mad scientist Augustus Rank as an army of superior, fiercely loyal dog soldiers, the monster Pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans and other sturdy breeds became fully empowered only many years after his death. Rank's followers, secluded in a remote Canadian village, continued his work, ultimately developing a race of super-intelligent, longer-living dogs trained from birth to use surgically attached mechanical hands, speak fluent German via a mechanical voice box, walk erect and dress in the elegant human fashions of the 1880s. NYU student Cleo Pira develops friendships with a few of the dogs in New York and becomes their liaison to the human press, writing insider articles for Vanity Fair and other chic magazines. Cleo narrates the novel, incorporating excerpts from the papers of Ludwig Von Sacher, the dogs' historian. First-novelist Bakis holds the reader in thrall for much of her imaginative tale, but, disappointingly, the dogs never emerge as strong characters. Though the reader gains some understanding of Ludwig through his writing, Cleo's conversations with the dogs are uniformly abrupt and anti-climactic. Instead, Bakis offers more of a dream vision that, ultimately, might be all in Cleo's head. Fortunately, that vision is engaging in its own right and, through Bakis's storytelling skill, makes for an audacious, intriguing and ultimately haunting debut.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I'm a huge dog lover and found this story of walking, talking, intelligent dogs very interesting. There is a sad undertone to the whole story and an underlying thread of darkness ,... Read morePublished on April 1 2004 by Barks Book Nonsense
In reference to an earlier poster (the first one who gave it 1 star)- this woman is a creative writing professor.... scary, huh?Published on Dec 7 2003
Formulaic and predictable. Dogs with voice boxes - new; the plot - genre fiction. The ending is easily predictable, as the book follows its path, or genre, from the first word to... Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2003 by Carey
Lives of The Monster Dogs, is an interesting premise, and for the most part effective. The overwhelming and most effective feeling Bakis conveys is one of sadness. Read morePublished on March 24 2003 by M. Pickering
I read this book on a recommendation around 3 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I make no pretense that I am of book critic calibur, but I will say that I woke up this morning... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2003 by Richard E. Pozzuto
This is one of the most original and deeply moving books I have read in a long time. It is neither "horror" nor "science fiction," though it plays off both those genres. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2003 by Lee Packard
I bought this book for the sake of the audacity of the concept. I (foolishly) thought that an idea this ridiculous must have something really exciting to redeem it in order to... Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2003
Every single person who I have given or loaned this book to has finished it the same day they started it. It's like Frankenstein meets watership down. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2002 by Susan R Murray
For a first novel, Kirsten Bakis proves to be an assured craftsman. This is especially true considering how original her concept is. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2001 by D. C. Cannon