Summary and book reviews of Wolf Season by Helen Benedict

Wolf Season

by Helen Benedict

Wolf Season by Helen Benedict X
Wolf Season by Helen Benedict
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  • Published:
    Oct 2017, 320 pages

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Book Summary

After a hurricane devastates a small town in upstate New York, the lives of three women and their young children are irrevocably changed.

Rin, an Iraq War veteran, tries to protect her blind daughter and the three wolves under her care. Naema, a widowed doctor who fled Iraq with her wounded son, faces life-threatening injuries and confusion about her feelings for Louis, a veteran and widower harboring his own secrets and guilt. Beth, who is raising a troubled son, waits out her marine husband's deployment in Afghanistan, equally afraid of him coming home and of him never returning at all.

As they struggle to maintain their humanity and find hope, their war-torn lives collide in a way that will affect their entire community.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. This book explores the long-reaching effects of war, not only on those directly engaged in it but on those close to them. How are the three mothers in the novel—Rin, Naema, and Beth—affected by war, and how does it affect their children, Juney, Tariq, and Flanner?
  2. Wolf Season opens with an approaching hurricane. What is the fallout from the storm on each character? What is the effect of opening the novel with such an event?
  3. Wolves have long been symbols in folktales and literature all over the world, from ancient myths, such as those of Native peoples in America, to the European story of "Little Red Riding Hood." Sometimes wolves stand for nobility and courage, sometimes evil, sometimes threat. What do you think the wolves...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Chronogram

Wolf Season is honest about suffering, trauma, and the difficulty of healing after war...[The novel] reminds us that we do what's best for our family - our pack - even if it's the thing that hurts the most.

Time Now

Wolf Season takes contemporary war-and-mil-writing preoccupation with dogs to its fantastical-yet-logical extension... Rin and Naema are compellingly drawn, as are Rin's daughter Juney and Naema's son Tariq and the three wolves, Gray, Silver, and Ebony. Most striking, however, are two male characters, Louis Martin and Todd Wycombe, both veterans struggling to be men worthy of respect.

Kirkus Reviews

Affecting...The 'very long reach of war' transcends generations.

Publishers Weekly

Gripping... A low level of dread builds slowly, drawing readers toward the inevitable climactic clash, though Benedict's memorable and complicated characterization is the true highlight.

Booklist

Compelling... Benedict doesn't shy away from her characters' very different faults as they grasp for courage and resilience during their dark times.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Unflinching... In a book that deserves the widest attention, Benedict 'follows the war home,' engaging readers with an insightful story right up until the gut-wrenching conclusion.

Author Blurb Elissa Schappell, author of Use Me and Blueprints for Building Better Girls
No one writes with more authority or cool-eyed compassion about the experience of women in war both on and off the battlefield than Helen Benedict... Wolf Season is more than a novel for our times; it should be required reading.

Author Blurb Cara Hoffman, author of Be Safe I Love You and Running
Fierce and vivid and full of hope, this story of trauma and resilience, of love and family, of mutual aid and solidarity in the aftermath of a brutal war is nothing short of magic.

Author Blurb Matt Gallagher, author of Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War and Youngblood
A novel of love, loss, and survival, Wolf Season delves into the complexities and murk of the after-war with blazing clarity. You will come to treasure these characters for their strengths and foibles alike. Helen Benedict has delivered yet again, and contemporary war literature is much the better for it.

Author Blurb [Helen Benedict] has emerged as one of our most thoughtful and provocative writers of war literature.
David Abrams, author of Fobbit and Brave Deeds, at the Quivering Pen

Reader Reviews

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