Summary and book reviews of The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

The Last Werewolf

by Glen Duncan

The Last Werewolf
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2012, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

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About this Book

Book Summary

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.

Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but otherwise in the pink of health. The nonstop sex and exercise he's still getting probably contribute to that, as does his diet: unusual amounts of flesh and blood (at least some from friends and relatives). Jake, of course, is a werewolf, and with the death of his colleague he has now become the only one of his kind. This depresses Jake to the point that he's been contemplating suicide. Yet there are powerful forces who for very different reasons want - and have the power - to keep Jake alive.

Here is a powerful new version of the werewolf legend - mesmerizing and undeniably sexy, and with moments of violence so elegantly wrought they dazzle rather than repel. But perhaps its most remarkable achievement is to make the reader feel sympathy for a man who can only be described as a monster - and in doing so, remind us what it means to be human.

One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.

1

"It's official," Harley said. "They killed the Berliner two nights ago. You're the last." Then after a pause: "I'm sorry."

Yesterday evening this was. We were in the upstairs library of his Earl's Court house, him standing at a tense tilt between stone hearth and oxblood couch, me in the window seat with a tumbler of forty-five-year-old Macallan and a Camel Filter, staring out at dark London's fast-falling snow. The room smelled of tangerines and leather and the fire's pine logs. Forty-eight hours on I was still sluggish from the Curse. Wolf drains from the wrists and shoulders last. In spite of what I'd just heard I thought: Madeline can give me a massage later, warm jasmine oil and the long-nailed magnolia hands I don't love and never will.

"What are you going to do?" Harley said.

I sipped, swallowed, glimpsed the peat bog plashing white legs of the kilted clan Macallan as the whisky kindled in my chest. It's official. You're the last. I'm sorry. I'd known what he was ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Werewolves have a long literary lineage, in folk tales and works of fiction, and they loom large in popular culture. In what ways does The Last Werewolf remain faithful to the genre and at the same time bring something new to it? In what ways is it innovative?

  2. Once a month, Jake murders and eats an innocent human being (or mostly - innocent hedge fund manger is borderline). And yet he is a tremendously likable character. How does Duncan make him so appealing despite his being a monster?

  3. Why is Jake so disillusioned with life as the novel begins? Why is he willing to let himself be killed? What makes him want to live again?

  4. Jacqueline Delon tells Jake: "Werewolves are not a subject for academe... but you know what the ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Duncan's The Last Werewolf is a highly intelligent, sensual, and well-written novel that, with some interesting twists and unexpected turns, is likely to keep you engrossed throughout. I highly recommend this book to fans of classic horror novels and to people who can appreciate that perfect combination of poetic introspection, gothic darkness, and juicy gore.   (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).

Full Review Members Only (672 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Savvy and exceptionally literate, this is one smart modern werewolf tale.

Booklist

Space should be cleared for this violent, sexy thriller... The answer to Twilight that adults have been waiting for.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Duncan's writing is quirky and brilliant - and definitely not for kids.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Yes, there are vampires here... But don't give this book to Twilight groupies; the frank tone, dark wit, and elegant, sophisticated language will likely do them in... smart, original, and completely absorbing. Highly recommended.

The Word (UK)

A brilliantly original thriller, a love story, a witty treatise on male (and female) urges, even an existential musing on what it is to be human. Get one for yourself and one for the Twilight fan in your life.

Author Blurb Scott Smith, author of The Ruins
The best books are blurb defying; they're far too potent for a flimsy net of adjectives ever to capture them. I could say that The Last Werewolf is smart, thrilling, funny, moving, beautifully written, and a joy to read, and this would all be true. But it would also be a woeful understatement of what Glen Duncan has accomplished with his extraordinary novel. The only useful thing I can offer you is a simple admonishment. Stop reading my words, and start reading his. Trust me: you'll be happy you did.

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Beyond the Book

The Symbology of Werewolves

From the 1941 classic film The Wolfman (see video clip below) to Michael Jackson's music video for "Thriller," from Harry Potter's Professor Remus Lupin to Jacob Black in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, the ancient symbol of the werewolf continues to play an active role in modern storytelling and carries a great deal of mythological meaning.

The term werewolf is most commonly believed to derive from the Old English wer (also were), meaning "man," and wulf, meaning "wolf" or "beast." The word lycanthrope, another term for werewolf, comes from the ancient Greek lykánthropos, meaning "wolf" (lükos) and "human" (ánthropos).

Though there are many variations on the werewolf story, these folkloric creatures are commonly...

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