The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Published by: Knopf Doubleday
Published on: July 2011
Page Count: 304
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased using credits at Audible.com.
Audiobook Published by: Random House Audio
Narrator: Robin Sachs
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 37 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook
Note: This novel contains a great deal of graphic sex and violence. May not be suitable for all readers.
Jake Marlow is the last werewolf left on earth. A group of paranormal hunters have been targeting werewolves for quite some time. Jake, at 200 years old, is tired of his life. He greets the news with resignation. He is ready to be done with living his life. Even the sex, as plentiful as ever, has grown old. His last wish is to set down his story so that the truth of his life and his experiences as a werewolf are preserved.
There was plenty of pre-release buzz about The Last Werewolf on Twitter. It seemed like everywhere I turned people were raving about the story and Glen Duncan’s writing. When my tweep @xesands suggested that we pick up the audiobook and listen together, I gladly jumped on board. Paranormal fiction isn’t generally my thing, but I was swept up in the hype.
Sometimes it is a wonderful experience to break out of my reading preferences and try something new or out of the ordinary. Other times, not so much. Unfortunately, this is the case with The Last Werewolf. I thought Glen Duncan’s writing was beautiful in places, but that was overshadowed by the overabundance of self-absorbed inner dialog and graphic sex. I understand that the man had 200 years of life to ponder, but after a while it felt repetitive and grew boring. I normally enjoy a little spice in my fiction, but this was so raw that it nauseated me. When it came to sex, Jake needed a release of his animal lust very often. After the first first encounter, allusions would have gone a good way. With each new vulgar reference and act, I felt like I was turning into a prude before my very eyes. I discussed this with others who were also reading and Jill from Rhapsody in Books sent me a link. It was to an interview with the author that shed a great deal of light on the book, especially the last two questions. This isn’t to say that I didn’t like this book at all. There were some interesting plot twists and events that would reinvigorate me along the way. Unfortunately, when the book was beginning to capture me, another the story would eventually return to Marlow’s cynical insight or sexual proclivities.
There is one thing that I absolutely adored about this book – the narrator. Were it not for Robin Sachs, I wouldn’t have made it past the first third of the novel. He was Jake to me. So often I felt as though he was sitting in the car with me explaining his life. All that was missing was the cigarette smoke. In that way it very much reminded me of the expert way in which Michael Kitchens narrated The End of the Affair. It will always amaze me how narrators can read such difficult material naturally and with just the perfect tone and inflection. Robin Sachs was more than a match for this material. If for no other reason, I’m glad I picked this audiobook so that I could be formally introduced to Sachs. His work was worth every cringe. A narrator who could keep me listening to The Last Werewolf is among the most talented narrators are out there.
The Last Werewolf will be a memorable read in that it turned my stomach more than any book I’ve read in quite some time and for introducing me to Robin Sachs. It is the first in a trilogy, but I have no plans to continue, even if Sachs continues to narrate. Regardless of the dull, repetitive inner dialog and nauseating sexual content, this experience confirmed for me that paranormal fiction just doesn’t capture my imagination the way it does for others. This may change over time, but I’m satisfied with simply giving Glen Duncan’s book a try. I neither recommend nor discourage this book. If you have read it or do read it, I’d be interested in hearing what you think.
I’m posting this review today to participate in Jen at Devourer of Books‘ weekly Sound Bytes meme. If you have an audiobook review to post, why not participate with us?