The Hunger of the Wolf by Stephen Marche
Lycanthropy has been a symbol of man’s hunger for the wild, a yearning to commune with one’s more primal urges; to embody the feral wolf, rely only on one’s instincts and savor the blood of the kill, free from the bonds of humanity. Of course the transmogrification can last for only a short while (i.e.; during the full moon). Humans must never to a primitive spirit, perpetually regress, but should constantly evolve toward a supreme ethos. Right? Well I guess that may be debatable. In any case, the propensity for Man to howl at the moon is a waning rite and one that, in time, if we are to believe Stephen Marche in his latest novel, The Hunger of the Wolf, may be obliged to wax, if we care to remain a driven and purposeful species.
Continue reading “Book Review: Howling for Dollars”
Commentary on The Dog by Joseph ONeill
At a time when many fiction writers, even those considered “literary”, have re-embraced the technique of using straight plot to tell a story, Joseph O’Neill dares to ignore that trend with the publication of his latest work. O’Neill, with The Dog, tends more to the deconstructive method of say, a Nabokov or a DeLillo, possibly even a Paul Auster. It is the sad tale of the narrator, a counselor-at-law (unnamed (or unnameable?) although he does use an alias (an ironic one at that) for his more illicit activities), who, after an ugly break-up with Jenn, his same-vocationed significant other, accepts a job offer from an old college chum, now one half of a Lebanese billionaire duo known as the Batros brothers, which requires relocation from his home base near New York City to the emirate of Dubai. Being an attorney, our narrator understandably has a lawyerly way of pleading his case. At times the prose reads like a legal brief; with lists, inventories, summaries, delineations, and so on. Literary style aside, O’Neill has written a cogent commentary on the hazards of our ever more globally connected, accessible, privacy-stripped society.
Continue reading “Book Review: The Unnameable Beast”
Melmoth the Wanderer
I recently read Irish clergyman C.R. Maturin’s send-up of the Gothic Horror genre, Melmoth the Wanderer, which was originally published in 1820, twenty five years after Ann Radcliffe’s seminal novel of Gothic Romance, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and only two years after Mary Shelley’s uber-classic Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. I am more piqued than ever by literature of this ilk and its influence through to the present day; not that I haven’t always been interested in the dark and more seamy hues of story-telling, but Melmoth has refocused me. The Faustian tale is truly a parody like much of the hyperbolic genre; what’s not to like about a school of writing that refuses to take itself too seriously.
Continue reading “On Gothic Horror”
Just received an ARC of The Dog by Joseph O’Neill
From the author of Netherland comes this darkly comic tale of a New Yorker who sets out for the desert Shangri-la of Dubai where he embarks on an unusual and marginalizing vocation. There has been a lot of hype for this one.