Friday, August 10, 2012

The Last Werewolf (not fuzzy bunny)!

The Last Werewolf
Author Glen Duncan
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you'd never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you--and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely. Jake's depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide--even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive. Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend--mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century--a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.
Review: Glen Duncan has given us the werewolf back after it was so rudely hijacked by fluffy bunnies and turned into something more closely resembling a singing Disney forest creature. I don't often rant within a review, but I must say, the only thing that shocks me when it comes to this book is other reviews questioning why some literary horror books, "Need to contain some of the most crude, disturbing, disgusting, grossly graphic acts of sexual perversion." Or refer to the sexual descriptions in the novel as erotica. I can't help but wonder if these are the same women who are devouring and slapping a five star stamp on Fifty Shades?  Lets be reminded about the original werewolf characterization, and although it was fun to think perhaps this creature could have a cuddly side, the truth is this was never the intention of the creator.  Duncan gets back to the raw core and primal behavior of the werewolf or if we really want to reflect, that of man. Oh I know, it makes some squeamish to think man's mind operates on the Fuckilleat mentality, but when broken down, this is simply a primary motivation for survival of the species.  Oh yes, we evolved humans would never ever admit to this and therefore, are 'shocked,' by the suggestion---but lets get real for a moment, we are driven by instinct.  The Last Werewolf poignantly demonstrates and reminds us just how instinctual we can be when threatened. The story begins with the realization of extinction and ends with the last werewolf, or is it? Will the line continue, mutate to survive and evolve?  Procreation, evolution, mutation and divine intervention all can be thematically explored and debated based on the story line of the book. Man and werewolf are mirrored as well as reflected - the good with the bad, the gruesome and grotesque, loss of love and emotion all run parallel throughout the plot.  The strength builds in the words and a stunning example of character description that aches from the pit of the gut and flows upon the page struck me half way through the book. I dog-eared the passage knowing full well that I would use it to show Duncan's mad skills.  Referring to the character, Tallula:
"These had flared and mutated, books, a smart mouth, finding the balance between sophistication and sluttiness, a little material greed, the headache of being sufficiently pretty so that politicisation was a sulkily performed chore, then work, business and the daily shifting survival strategies that made the freshman small-hours ethical arguments quaint.  All this was still there, dwarfed under the dark arch of the monster.  The challenge was to find the devious bloody-mindedness to keep both, who she used to be and what she was now (210-11)."  
This passage embodies the thematic complexity of the novel and in my opinion, eloquently demonstrates writing technique, flow, bridging time, character description and foreshadowing. Is it profound? Absolutely!  Is it grounded? Undeniably! Does it say what color eyes she has? Nope, thank GOD!  Amazingly, I learned more about this character without suffering the DMV statistics. Is there sex and violence? Yes. Is it shockingly over the top or gruesome? Given the subject, I would say not at all. One thing is for certain, this is a completely different Jacob and the kind that did not leave me reaching for a barf bag by the end.
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1 comment :

  1. This sounds like a good one. Definitely going on my list. Thanks for the great review. In regards to Fifty Shades, I had no intention of touching it and then when some author friends told me it was terribly written, that just sealed it for me. I'm just really not one that jumps on the bandwagon. =O)