Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recent Reads: Of Scotch and Werewolves - The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

I used to be a fan of vampire stories. I love the gothic reportage of Bram Stoker's original Dracula, the eerily elegant portrayals of the Prince of Darkness by Bela Lugosi and Frank Langella, and the impressionistic gruesomeness of Nosferatu. But then Anne Rice came along and ruined the entire genre with her overwritten prose and dandy vampires. Her silly novels led directly to a world inhabited by the schlocky vampires of True Blood and Twilight. Vampires written for overly romantic pre-teen girls, possibly living in the Victorian era.

But we still have werewolves, and Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf makes the case for the vitality of that sister genre. Duncan's novel is a first person diary of the last surviving werewolf, living among us in contemporary society. Duncan's werewolf, Jacob Marlowe, is smart and real, neither elegant nor overly beautiful. He may be 200 years old, but his disposition is decidedly modern, and best of all, he loves his Scotch. The opening scene has him drinking a 45 year old Macallan as his only friend tells him of the death of a German werewolf that was the only other surviving member of his species. He later imbibes some Glenlivet and suspiciously noses a dram that he suspects is Laphroaig when he ordered Oban.

Whisky is a small detail in this work, but it gives me a chance to encourage anyone with a love of the genre to seek it out. It's smart and well written with an ironic sense of humor. You won't be disappointed.


sam k said...

Cool. Really cool.

RegularChumpington said...

Suitable that the author's name is Glen Duncan, no?

I think K&L is releasing a '72 sherry casked Glenduncan in March.