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In the Wolf's Mouth Hardcover – 6 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (6 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224098284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224098281
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.8 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Blackman on 3 Sep 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 By cooker on 23 April 2014
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 By Douglas Kemp on 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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bell Tower on 20 Mar 2014
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 By countrygirl on 30 Mar 2014
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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