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In the Wolf's Mouth [Kindle Edition]

Adam Foulds
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Book Description

From the author of the Man Booker shortlisted The Quickening Maze



In the Wolf’s Mouth follows the lives of four very different men, all of them navigating the chaos and horror brought about by the Second World War. Fighting for the Allies are Will Walker, an ambitious English Field Security Officer and Ray Marfione, a wide-eyed Italian-American infantryman who dreams of home and the movies. Meanwhile in Sicily, Angilù, a young shepherd caught up in corruption and Cirò Albanese, a sinister Mafioso, are fighting their own battles with devastating consequences.


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Review

"Astounding vivid snapshots that somehow mimic the fractured intensity of real firefight: the delicately crafted but deceptively powerful images of each staccato chapter linger and resonate. Reading this book is like remembering war…an expertly crafted work of dark beauty and intensity." (Patrick Hennessey The Times)

"Wonderful – subtle and atmospheric. Foulds's prose frequently verges on poetry – with its intensity and neat turn of phrase … impressive." (Frances Perraudin Observer)

"Adam Foulds writes like an angel about devilish things... The supple, sensuous beauty of his prose is bewitching… The pace and tension of a political thriller… Superb novel." (Rebecca Abrams Financial Times)

"Powerful and persuasive… As admirable as it is disturbing." (Allan Massie Scotsman)

"Adam Foulds is a young British novelist of striking talent and eclecticism. His style is first-rate, combining precision with a rich poetic imagination. He is able to do more with language, and at greater depth, than most other British novelists of his generation." (Andrew Holgate Sunday Times)

Book Description

The eagerly awaited follow-up to The Quickening Maze by the brilliant young prize-winner.

Shortlisted for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 850 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FRLZRUU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing take on the effects of war 3 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Reading Adam Foulds’s new novel In the Wolf’s Mouth, I was reminded of literary movements like Oulipo, which explored the concept of ‘potential literature’.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that the novel is particularly experimental. It’s the ‘potential’ aspect that stuck in my head. In the world of Oulipo and others, the emphasis was more on the creation of new possibilities, rather than the actual execution of those ideas. In the Wolf’s Mouth is in some ways a potential novel. It sets up a scenario involving multiple characters and storylines, and then leaves those narratives deliberately unconnected, the potential deliberately unfulfilled. It’s a deliberate choice, and there are very clear reasons for it, making it an interesting book to read and think about.

First, a word on those different narratives. We start with two rural Sicilians in pre-war Sicily, and then switch for the bulk of the book to the stories of two young Allied soldiers in World War II. Italian-American infantryman Ray Marfione marches across Italy, watches his friends die, and gets badly lost, both spiritually and geographically, while English intelligence officer Will Walker blunders ineffectually across North Africa and Italy.

These characters, Ray and Will, constantly threaten to become protagonists, but never actually do. They lurch from place to place, constantly at the mercy of unseen forces.

Will tries to take bold action, but is frustrated by incompetent and cowardly superior officers. In north Africa, for example, he wants to hold the French colonial government accountable for imprisoning local people in a filthy underground pit called the ‘fish pond’. But his captain talks evasively of the balance of power, and tells him to write up a report.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a failure to match stellar reviews 23 April 2014
By cooker
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't wish to repeat the critical comments already posted but simply to record my agreement with their disappointment in this shallow novel. I too bought it on the back of a host of favourable reviews and am baffled that so many supposedly practiced judges can have been so misguided.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War and the human condition 15 Oct. 2014
Format:Hardcover
Set mostly in the battlegrounds of North Africa and Italy in the Second World War, this is a poetic and beautifully observed novel. The two main characters who alternate the narrative are William Walker, a rather pompous junior recruit in British field intelligence, and Ray Marfione, US infantry of Italian ethnic background. Both are deployed to North Africa, where Ray endures some traumatic fighting, while Will’s opinion of his limited abilities is inflated. They then are moved to Sicily to engage the retreating Axis forces – Ray to fight, while Will is given the task of assisting in law enforcement and filling in the vacuum created by the departure of the Fascist administration. But he comes up against the local Sicilian vendettas and long-running disputes that continue, and in some cases are made worse, by the military conflict.
The descriptions of the fighting are excellent and seem authentic to a non-combatant. Likewise, the understanding of motivations and the analysis of character and behaviour have a genuine and intelligent essence that fully engages the reader in the experiences of the main players in this tale. This is a story about war and its pervasive influence examines the human condition under such times of terrible stress, as well as periods of boredom and anomie.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Very poorly researched and realised. Lacks authenticity and any understanding of the formation of modern Italy,thats politically, economically and socially. I wonder how someone who shows little grasp of the historical facts can ever create believable characters, that reflect or represent in any complexity a period of history and the position Italians found themselves in. Terrible and misleading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I've given this novel four stars but maybe three and a half would be a more accurate score. The writing is so patchy - sometimes it soars and achieves a startling brilliance while at other times it is overwritten and clumsy. There are some stock characters here - the good peasant, the mafioso boss, the intriguing Princess, the stoical village women - and for me they never seemed authentic and therefore never became engaging. The descriptions of warfare rang true with a horrible vividness.
So - worth reading but didn't live up to rave reviews. By the way, do writers and journos operate some sort of mutual back-scratching over reviews? It seems to me that they do.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hosannas in the TLS and the Guardian reviews prompted me to order this book and have it sent all the way to America. Its premise (the Mafia returns to Sicily with Patton's and Montgomery's armies) sounded intriguing enough. My hopes were disappointed. Having read it, I am frankly baffled that any reviewer could praise this desperately poorly written novel. The blood and guts of the battle scenes has been praised as "poetic"; but it's forced and unconvincing, to say the least. I willed myself ("flogged" might be the better word) to finish the book, hoping there might be something to redeem it. There wasn't. Truly, it is one of the most ineptly written books I have ever read. Whatever merit Foulds may have as a writer, his editor should not have let him get the bit in his mouth and run off with ludicrously extravagant and clumsy metaphors and sometimes freakish diction that would make you laugh, were there not so many instances of them to, in the end, annoy you. The characterization is utterly arbitrary, cartoonish really and nothing more. Think before you lay out £17 and give this one a wide berth. Not only is it a waste of money, it is also a waste of cellulose. Worse of all, it is a waste of your valuable time -- a far, far worse sin. But to give it its curate's egg due: Suzanne Dean's cover design is striking -- the best thing about the book, in fact.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The story is a bit like a TV series but I've given it such a ...
Fould's is a discovery for me. Incredible use of words. The story is a bit like a TV series but I've given it such a high rating because the writing is spectacularly good.
Published 29 days ago by Roger Stowell
5.0 out of 5 stars Four very different men struggling with the horrors of World ...
Four very different men struggling with the horrors of World War Two, with evocatively described as the link. The writing is compelling, poetic yet powerful, the characters real. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Mugwump
3.0 out of 5 stars We really were lost
Focuses on two very different soldiers: Ray, an innocent Italian American infantryman and the very different Will, an ambitious officer, speaks Arabic and overestimates his... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sandy Hogarth, author of The Glass Girl
3.0 out of 5 stars As I am interested in Sicily I was looking forward to this book but...
Could not warm to any of the characters, and could not really visualise them. As I am interested in Sicily I was looking forward to this book but was disappointed in that there... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Linmaeve
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 8 months ago by Alan Stanfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim Poetry
Cool, slightly ennervated descriptions of extreme events. The level gaze is compelling, but makes the chief characters, especially Ray and Angilu, a bit distant and unknowable. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Chris Lilly
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than some think!
Well, I really don't know what was going on with a couple of the previous reviewers!

This is a novel - and often a powerful one, not a work of precise history, although... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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