Werewolves in the Redwoods

Canis_lupus_portraitThe creator of gripping genealogies for folkloric figures has recovered her gift in The Wolf Gift published in 2012. I was very much a fan of Anne Rice’s power to construct elaborate family trees for vampires and the Mayfair witches, but after Violin I felt her virtuosity wane in some rather weakly developed novels like Pandora and Vittorio, the Vampire. None of her novels after 1997 clicked with me. I attributed the thin gruel she was producing to the pressure of publishers for her to turn out a new book every year.

The significance of Rice’s work stems from her ability to write popular fiction that also treats of philosophical and spiritual issues troubling the human soul from time immemorial–death, grief, immortality, the existence of a deity, how that deity is perceived, good and evil, heaven and hell.  She does not shy away from literary allusions or references to intellectual history or works of art ancient and modern.

Similar to what Rice did in creating a comprehensive vampire mythology that humanizes the dreaded Transylvanian night stalker, she imagines in The Wolf Gift a psychological depth for the werewolf and gives a unique interpretation of the legend. Her wolf-man smells evil and leaps to rescue the victims of violent crime–an interesting twist with complex ramifications, one of which is the morality of killing the killer.

The descriptions are vivid, transporting me to the setting along the Pacific coast in northern California among the redwoods. I joyfully entered the werewolf world that others may find preposterous, gloriously suspending my disbelief to entertain the really important questions about God, evil and the hybrid nature of Homo sapiens.

Doubtless, Rice will offer us more romps with the werewolves.  She has already with this year’s follow-on– The Wolves of Midwinter.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by irisinidaho on August 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I would never have placed werewolves in the redwoods. Mmmmm, a scary thought.

    “spiritual issues that have troubled the human soul from time immemorial–death, grief, immortality, the existence of a deity, how that deity is perceived, good and evil, heaven and hell”

    nice summary. My mother-in-law thought she could cheat old age, and, consequently, death. Her suffering from learning otherwise pains me.

    Reply

  2. Old age has its joys, one of each is staring at beautiful young men and women in utter admiration.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Francine on August 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Nothing compares to Rice’s descriptiveness. She is a serious researcher who not only does her homework, but brings her hands-on experience to life for everyone to enjoy.
    WE are right there in the forest with Reuben. It is as timeless and ageless as the California Redwoods. Make no mistake, we are all Reuben, the same way we are Lestat, Louis, Marius and little Claudia, trapped in our situations, mistakes and love. This is not fantasy, it is truth. We want to be there with those characters, alive forever in these pages….. in them and with them.

    Reply

  4. I could not agree with you more, Francine. Well-said.

    Reply

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