three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
55-Nov-Dec-2011
By: 
Glen Duncan
user_rating: 
0

A-The Last WerewolfBritish author Glen Duncan has published seven previous novels, including I, Lucifer (2002) and A Day and a Night and a Day (2009).

The Story: We tend to imagine werewolves as feral, brutish creatures enslaved by their instincts. Glen Duncan's titular character defies at least some of the stereotypes. Jake Marlowe has traveled the world, reads philosophy, and enjoys a fine wine. But once a month for more than two centuries, his wolfish side has led him to kill a human being. Not long after the author introduces us to Marlowe, the werewolf learns that the only other surviving member of his kind has been hunted down. Alone, he contemplates suicide, but before he has a chance to act, he is drawn into a plot that involves vampires, a secret paramilitary organization, and a different destiny for the "Last Werewolf" than he might have imagined.
Knopf. 304 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 9780307595089

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"The British writer Glen Duncan has finally driven a stake through vampire supremacy. And it works because he gives his werewolf narrator a voice with teeth. Cerebral and campy, philosophical and ironic, The Last Werewolf is a novel that's always licking its bloody lips and winking at us." Ron Charles

Cleveland Plain Dealer 3.5 of 5 Stars
"[The Last Werewolf] shows that genre fiction can still rip with verve, philosophy, gristle and gore. ... Of course, all this ripeness can teeter into rot, and in a couple of passages Duncan falls halfway down the campy slope." Karen R. Long

NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Our natural antipathy for a serial cannibal notwithstanding, it's hard not to extend some readerly warmth to a narrator who's so darned fun to listen to. ... [W]orld-weary Jake Marlowe would make a fabulous dinner companion. Just not during a full moon." Justin Cronin

Critical Summary

Reviewers appreciated Glen Duncan's more literary take on the werewolf myth, finding his protagonist far more enjoyable than the also-ran lycanthropes of recent paranormal fiction. They turned to classic authors such as Conrad and Nabokov rather than Hollywood icons or young adult authors to explain the book's feel and tone. But that did not prevent more than one critic from also finding parts of The Last Werewolf corny, melodramatic, and overwritten. In the end, the novel is probably an escape for those who enjoy stories of fantastic monsters but who are bored by Twilight and its ilk.