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Can a book be both literary and genre? Yes. Can it be both successfully? Yes, see: The Last Werewolf.
I originally heard about this book via an NPR review and it languished on my to-read list for a long while until, when in need of my next book, I reviewed the synopses of the books on my to-read list. This one finally had it's turn to be what I was in the mood for. I loved it from the word go. The Last Werewolf was, for me, a perfect fit between what I was in the mood for and what the book (and the wonderful reader since I listened to this one) delivered. Beginning this book was like slipping into a warm bath mood-lit by aromatherapy candles, perfectly steeped cup of tea in hand. Or whatever your perfect scenario might be. I'll admit that my tranquil depiction makes for a strange juxtaposition with the violence and gore of the book, but such was my satisfaction with starting The Last Werewolf.
For starters, Jake Marlowe is a werewolf. And,I don't mean a Twilight werewolf, running around with no shirt, well-oiled muscles glistening in the sunlight kind of werewolf. He is an ancient, pragmatic, animalistic, savage monster who has no delusions that he is anything else. Glen Duncan wrests the werewolf from the teeny-boppers and the romance novels, and successfully returns him to the horror category. It is Jake's acceptance that he is an evil monster that makes him so unnerving: he is neither an unthinking beast (quite the contrary in fact, since the whole book is filled with his musing and ennui) nor is he in denial of the monstrosity of his true nature. In fact, the frank tone with which Jake describes killing and sex add to the discomfort.
The potential reader should be aware that this book is graphic. I blushed more than once. There is sex in this book, but it is not the sex of romance novels; there are no corsets, or 'throbbing members' here. There are, however, multiple mentions of the c-word. Be forewarned.
A Note on the Audiobook:
I often wonder what I may have missed by listening to the book that I would have gained if I had read a physical book. e.g Would I have enjoyed that passage more if I had re-read it? Not so with this book. I believe that listening to this only enhanced my enjoyment. In fact, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it at much if I had read a physical copy.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
No pretty pony sparkles or virtuous animated corpses here! Rather, a 200 yr. old, sophisticated and philosophical lycanthrope, his glass of scotch, his cigarette, his journal, and the lunar cycle. Our man-wolf Jake matter of factly dismisses the ugly business of a werewolf's dietary needs, and insouciantly describes his sexual habits like National Geopgraphic doing Debbie Does Dallas. What you get is an adult, smart, hilarious, thriller that treats the old-guard monsters with the respect and fear they deserve! Raunchy? Absolutely! Goodness, I blushed... Then I watched my very distinguished Old English bulldog and realized that his narration of his persuit of a noble dog's life would probably read much like impulse-driven Jake's journal. I would accuse Sir Louie of being rudimentary--but never being crude or vulgar. Ethologically speaking, Jake is nonchalant--but he is no licentious lycanthrope! Great to read a very well written, clever "monster" book for adults, and the narration is an absolute treat.
29 of 33 people found this review helpful