Praise for Lives of the Monster Dogs


"Lives of the Monster Dogs feels undeniably like a classic. . . . Bakis makes readers think in a hybrid fashion: about both animal and human intelligence." —The Atlantic

"Haunting, fiercely original . . . unfolds like a rich, resonant dream . . . A dazzling, unforgettable meditation on what it means to be human." —New York Times Book Review 

"Engrossing . .  . sublime . . . sears your memory with indelible moments." —Chicago Tribune

"One of the most unique an unusual works of fiction to come along in may years . . . fabulous." —USA Today

"The author makes an astonishing and elegiac case for the dogs' assertion that 'it's a terrible thing to be a dog and know it.'" —The New Yorker

"An impressive first novel . . . an effervescent, free-wheeling fantasia. . . utterly captivating . . This is the way, one things, new talent should make its debut: in exuberant reckless, and intelligent play." —Boston Sunday Globe

"Well-wrought . . . genuinely affecting . . . Bakis deserves praise so high only dogs can hear it." —Newsweek

"An effective fantasy in the tradition of Robert Louis Stevenson and Mary Shelley . . . loaded with metaphor and reflection. . . and with a real technical knack, as Bakis plays elegantly with the themes, and the stylistics, of German Romanticism" —Wall Street Journal

"A revelation . . . Lives of the Monster Dogs is a truly unique work of the imagination." —New York Daily News

"Strange . . . compelling . . . Extremely topical and provocative." —Hartford Courant

"Utterly original . . . lodges itself indelibly in the memory."  —Sunday Telegraph, UK

"Extravagantly imaginative . . . Funny, sad, and wise." —Glasgow Harold





"Fantastic, skillfully told . . . bizarrely enchanting . . . this poignant, magnificent book inspires all sorts of wild wonderment about man's best friend. What do dogs think about? What would they say if they could talk? What if dogs were more like us?" —People

"A boldly unleashed imagination . . . A skillful interplay of sadness and mystery . . . leaves a melancholy stillness as it is put back on the shelf." —Time

"On one level it might be compared to The Island of Dr. Moreau and the dangers of what happens when a mad scientist begins messing about, trying to 'improve' upon nature. But this novel is too good to be a mere catalogue of ideas. The characters are too wonderful . . . perfectly drawn . . . A unique novel I admired greatly." —Washington Post

"Futuristic and oddly elegant . . . takes a different look at ego, nature, and destiny . . . there is a resounding echo of Poe, H.G. Wells, and Orwell in Bakis's writing." —San Diego Union-Tribune

"A stunning first novel . . . wild . . . poignant . . . The best of creations, spun of words and a fine limitless imagination." —Sunday Oregonian

"Riveting." —Dallas Morning News

"Immensely touching." —New York Newsday


Lives of the Monster Dogs was was a New York Times notable book of the year, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel, and shortlisted for the international Women's Prize for Fiction and has a band named after it. It was published in eight languages. A 20th anniversary edition was published in 2017 with a new introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.

Kirsten Bakis is the recipient of a Teaching-Writing Fellowship from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Grant, and an award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.

Bakis has taught undergraduate creative writing at the University of Iowa, and Hampshire and Skidmore Colleges; and adults of all ages in summer programs at Wesleyan, Skidmore, and in the SLS Russia program. Since 2012 she has been a resident faculty member at the Yale Summer Writers' Conference. She also teaches at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center,

Her story "The Thief" appeared in in the Fall 2015 issue of Tin House. She is at work on a new novel.