by Glen Duncan (Canongate Books, 2011)
I bought this book in the middle of a tide of rave reviews from my fellow book bloggers - and happily, the hype turned out to be justified. It isn't the best book I've ever read, but it IS beautifully written, deftly plotted and extremely compelling.
It is written in the form of an ongoing memoir belonging to Jake Marlowe, and begins at the moment he discovers another of his kind has just been killed, officially making him the last living werewolf on earth. Throughout his life the Hunt has been gradually chasing them down, one by one, and now, 200 years old, lonely and sick of the endless running and monthly bloodbath, Jake is ready to give up and go willingly. But before the next full moon arrives, when he plans to walk into his own death at the hands of the Hunt's top agents, everything is turned upside down. His friend is murdered, devious supernatural schemes start to surface, and he falls in love for the first time in his werewolf life. Suddenly he has something to live for - and he'll do anything to hold onto it. After all, life is all there is...
If you pick this book up looking for teen romance and high-school thrills, you'll be sorely disappointed. This is literary fiction all the way - and definitely for the adult reader! It's bloody, provocative and downright filthy, yet it's written in the most exquisite, poetic language that flows like water. The only thing I didn't like was the repeated use of the 'c' word, not because of any moral objection, but because in sexual references it just sounds so horrible. A male-writer thing, perhaps. That aside, this is a fantastic, gripping read that expertly walks the fine line between gritty and gorgeous to build a novel that really sets itself apart from the supernatural pack (*groans*). Highly recommended.
- "When you need a plan and don't have one a retarded giddy indifferent faith takes over. Improv comics know this, criminals, soldiers too. Self dissolves into the flow and will reassemble on the other side of the job - or not. Either way you're doing it."
- "We lay near each other but not touching, silent recipients of Pan's globally ignored dawn suite, a soft exhalation through turf and leaf, the whirr of small wings, the introspective clambering of beetles, the shiver of water. The world, Lula was thinking, is oozing, teeming, crawling with miracles. And we live in the opaque plastic bubble of television and booze."