Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with a special AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. @$$Hole interviewer/reviewer/resident vampire hunter Lyzard has a review/interview on the new book THE LAST WEREWOLF. First Lyz has a review of the book, then she sits down with the writer Glenn Duncan to talk all about it. Enjoy!
Lyzard with a book review for AICN HORROR Watch out Jacob Black, there’s a new werewolf in town…also named Jacob. But this one is a legitimate werewolf. Not just because of the fact that Jacob Black is actually a shapeshifter, but because Jacob Marlowe knows that the life of a werewolf is as simple as “fuckeatkill.”
In Glen Duncan’s THE LAST WEREWOLF, Jacob Marlowe must learn to deal with the fact that he is the only one left of his species. No hope in mating with a she-wolf, they’ve been gone for years and are infertile. The only way to increase the population is to bite a human and none have survived the turn in 150 years. So Jacob resigns himself to his demise, but the universe just won’t let him lie down and take it.
This isn’t one of those dime a dozen werewolf novels; Duncan creates a true piece of literature. I’m not saying it’s the ODYSSEY of werewolf novels, but it should not be placed among the plethora of similar genre titles flooding the market. The book is dense, with language you have to work through. This isn’t a simple read, but that should not be a deterrent.
I could think of many people that should not read this book. These would include those that get queasy easily, those who are prudish even reading about sex, those who are devoutly religious (remember this is the guy that wrote I, LUCIFER), and those that supported Bush, which may seem random, but Duncan takes several jabs at the former President. I think of this book much in the way I view BLACK SWAN. It’s a great ride, but not everybody likes roller coasters.
I can’t say that you’ll enjoy this book. That isn’t the emotion I believe Mr. Duncan is going for. No, this is a book that washes over you and afterwards you feel like taking a shower. It’s dirty and grimy, yet somehow you cannot pull yourself away from it. No matter what awful things you learn about the main character, you still root for him. It’s schadenfreude to the tenth degree. Rubbernecking in the extreme. The pacing of the book works for and against it. As a summer read, it is wonderful. All the chapters are reasonably short, so you can put it down after one and pick it up to read another later. But Duncan’s narrator tends to meander, dive into thought, and philosophize. I found myself begging to get back into the darkness; I wanted more blood and guts. Along with the deep investigation into existence, I grew tired of the sex. There are only so many ways to say that a character is aroused and I’m pretty sure Duncan exhausted most of them. Yes, I do get that it is part of the werewolf trifecta (fuckeatkill), but sometimes it was plotless. As for the plot, there were some major events I saw coming from pages away, but these were made up for by the more numerous twists that did not cross my mind.
I’ve been asked why, out of all the supernatural creatures out there, I prefer vampires. The answer, in my mind, is simple; they just have better quality stories. But this is due to quantity. I’m sure if more people wrote about werewolves, then the world would be presented with many more titles like Glen Duncan’s THE LAST WEREWOLF, putrid and yet enthralling.
@’s by Glenn Duncan, Author of THE LAST WEREWOLF!
GLENN DUNCAN (GD): Absolutely none. My ideas about werewolves are very traditional and derived from horror movies - they turn at the full moon, they’re susceptible to silver, they lose the power of speech when transformed, etc. All I’m doing is taking the basic condition - transformation, warring desires, a divided nature - seriously, and exploiting its metaphorical potential.
LYZARD: How did you create the supernatural rules for the universe?
GD: According to taste. I kept the aspects of the various supernatural mythologies I liked, and ditched the ones I didn’t.
LYZARD: Has there been any difference in reception between American and British audiences?
GD: Not really. Some readers get it, others don’t, some hate it with a religious fury, others levitate with enthusiasm. The critical reception has been mostly positive. The US seems slightly less bothered about whether the novel is ‘literary’ or ‘commercial’, or an offensive hybrid, or whatever, but that might just be an effect of wider and more colourful review coverage.
LYZARD: What response are you trying to get out of your audience? How do you wish them to react to your novel?
GD: The response I’m after is a mixture of mute awe, tortured love and raging envy. Failing that, a handful of laughs and a satisfied smile at the end.
LYZARD: How does THE LAST WEREWOLF relate to your other books, ideology wise, like I, LUCIFER?
GD: I don’t have an ideology. I have imaginative and economic unease. Thanks to which, every year, I find myself writing a book. This novel is the only one I’ve begun in a purely mercenary spirit: the avowed intention was to write a bit of commercial genre, but for better or worse the intention didn’t survive. As soon as Jake was up and running the novel morphed into thematic business as usual: love, sex, death, morality, cruelty and compassion. Whatever my initial agenda, these are the ideas I end up returning to. They’re common to all the earlier works, I, LUCIFER included.
LYZARD: Do you strive to push the envelope or be controversial, or do you just feel that some readers are too uptight?
GD: I’ve no time for humourless prudes, if that’s what you mean, but I’m certainly not striving to be controversial. I don’t think there’s anything controversial about the fundamental aspects of the human animal, and history makes it pretty clear what those aspects are. That’s what I’m writing about.
LYZARD: THE LAST WEREWOLF is available by clicking here!
Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a senior screenwriting major with an English minor at Chapman University. Along with writing for AICN, she has been published twice on the subject of vampire films.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G