Hunger of the Wolf

Stephen Marche

I remember liking this book when I first read it, but the more I think about it the less I think I should. ... strangely enough, that isn't entirely out of line with how I first thought about the book. I felt “obliged” to dislike what the book represents, just because of the way things shook out.

I was first drawn to it based off the premise alone. It was to bend and meld together the all-too-common werewolf archetype into the higher thought of literary fiction. It was interesting enough to not turn down, even if the other opinion-and-article writing the same author did elsewhere made me cautious. It is a very male book, one of the very few I know of that tries to explore the oft-inconclusive feminist topic of patriarchal pressures as they apply to men. Sadly, while I admire the ambition of the experiment, I don't think it succeeded as much as I would've liked.

Part of it is because just how many grounds the book tries to cover: lycanthropic ghost story, existential horror, polemic on economic inequality, and multi-generational gatsbyesque drama. It tries to do so many things at once that it fails to excel at any one particular, leaving weaknesses in its argumentation that likely wouldn't withstand much criticism. On the Marxist front, it doesn't quite make the full connection between the Wylie methods and the resulting world Cabot faces. On the feminist front, one of the unintended consequences may indeed be a very faint misogyny which reveals itself on reflection after the fact, which may or may not dampen things a little. It did what it thought was enough, yet still needed more.

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