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In the Wolf's Mouth: A Novel Hardcover – June 3, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Electric . . . Mr. Foulds powerfully achieves what Stephen Crane called the 'psychological portrayal of fear' . . . fiercely memorable fiction. (The Wall Street Journal)

Rich and vivid . . . [Foulds] is a superb stylist. His muscular sentences punch in short bursts or stream in torrents of feeling or action with precise, telling detail. (Kate Manning, The Washington Post)

In the hands of award-winning poet Foulds, this combat narrative promises to remind us, via the revitalizing power of great writing, what war really feels and looks like. (Daniel Lefferts, Bookish.com)

Prose that flashes like the bullets and explosions it evokes. (Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose)

Masterful . . . With his poet's skill, Foulds distills each sentence to maximize its potency. (J. Greg Phelan, America)

A harsh illumination of the broken mess that most war amounts to. (John Domini, Bookforum)

Foulds has won praise for both his poetry and his fiction, and it is ultimately the precision of his language that gives the novel emotional and intellectual heft. (The New Yorker)

Combining careful, considered prose with horrific realism, the latest from Foulds expertly renders the Allied campaigns in Italy and North Africa during WWII. (Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week))

Adam Foulds writes like an angel about devilish things . . . He is fearsomely unafraid of the darkness within humans and the darkness they are capable of creating around them. The supple, sensuous beauty of his prose is bewitching: like the helpless children of Hamelin we follow wherever he chooses to lead, however horrifying the terrain, enchanted by the unstoppable flow of rich, unforgettable images. (Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times)

Foulds acknowledged mastery as a novelist and as a poet . . . is often apparent in this book: in the ambiguous dialogues between strangers revealing unspoken intimacies, in the delicately clipped snippets of everyday life recalled in the confusion of war, in the lyrical broken-up sentences that mirror the physical and mental shattering of the ongoing slaughter. (Alberto Manguel, The Guardian)

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, The Sunday Times)

On the level of the sentence, there's much to admire in this novel. Foulds has a searching eye for detail and an apparently helpless compulsion to wring imagery from his subject. (Tim Martin, The Telegraph)

Combining careful, considered prose with horrific realism, the latest from Foulds expertly renders the Allied campaigns in Italy and North Africa during WWII . . . readers will be amazed at this deeply felt, vivid novel. (Publishers Weekly (Pick of the Week))

Foulds writes like no one else; while individual scenes are rendered with poetic simplicity, they fit together into an elliptical, complex plot readers will puzzle over long after finishing this novel. (Kirkus)

It's in these battle scenes where Foulds excels. The writer manages to combine the horrors and banalities of war in the same sentence. . . . Here, Foulds, a Costa award-winning poet, matches his flair for rhythm with a skillful ownership of both his prose and a complex narrative. All delivered with a minimalist restraint. (Will Dean, The Independent)

There is a different kind of poetry in Foulds's descriptions of battle, in the chaos of a defeated town, in the disintegration of a mind, . . . that speaks of the horrors of war but also of the legacy those horrors leave. . . . Deep, dark, demanding. (Lesley McDowell, The Independent on Sunday)

Foulds dramatizes the confusion of the time very well. . . . Foulds's portrayal of the Mafia mentality, and how this is expressed in action, is as admirable as it is disturbing. (Allan Massie, The Scotsman)

As well as being strong on atmosphere--the novel has some of the most vividly evoked battle scenes I've read in ages--he doesn't shy away from taking risks. . . . To cap it all he's as adept at writing about sex as he is about being shot at. (John Preston, London Evening Standard)

About the Author

Adam Foulds is a British novelist and poet. His most recent books inclulde the novel In the Wolf's Mouth, the novel The Quickening Maze, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and the European Union Prize for Literature, and The Broken Word, which won the Costa Poetry Award and the Somerset Maugham Award. He has recently been awarded the E. M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374175829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374175825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Foulds was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2008. He is the author of the novel The Truth About These Strange Times, as well as the narrative poem The Broken Word, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize the 2008 Costa Poetry Award. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To my tastes, this is a very fine novel, the first I have read by Foulds. The story may be a little disjointed for some readers. The deeper into the book one gets, however, the connections between the various threads become clearer. The writing is wonderfully descriptive and lyrical. It is poetic in the same way as Michael Ondaatje's best work. The main characters come alive and are well developed to the extent appropriate for the purposes of the author's tale.

In a way, this book is a series of interrelated mood poems. By that I mean that the sense of place, the mood conveyed seems more important than the telling of a story fully developed from A to Z. The best example is in the way the battle segments are written. What is conveyed to the reader is not a literal telling of any given battle. Rather, one feels the individual soldier's uncertainties and terror, one is in and experiences the narrow field of vision that exists for the individual participant. As I read, I was reminded of the battle scenes in the movie "The Thin Red Line." Foulds creates the same sort of visual impact through his descriptive talents. The sense of the surreality of the individual soldier's experience is the same.

I found the experience of reading this novel very satisfying. I look forward to reading more work by this author, be it prose or poetry.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Very well written, the book creates these wonderful little capsules of Italy, Africa, England from beautifully constructed sentences. Purely for that reason I enjoyed reading it very much and could re-read it without any problem.

The weakness in the novel is definitely structural, and feels like it needed a few more chapters to round off the narrative arc of the characters. There are times you are not sure why he is showing you this character and at the end I still was not sure. In particular, I did not understand how Ray the American really fitted in to the climax, such as it was, although he offered an excellent glimpse into the reality of war.

Because of this lack of sense of direction at times, it can be a frustrating book, so you should not read it expecting a simple narrative story that resolves fully or manages to fully integrate the stories of the three main characters, but each character had something to offer and intrigued me. I was never bored, and when the writing is so elegant yet simple, the narrative thrust becomes less important because you are involved in the simple detail and description that makes this book, at least for me, very enjoyable.
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Format: Hardcover
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 importance in war. North Africa, 1942
Heavy battle scenes especially where Ray involved. I found them repetitive and little boring but that may be that I’ve read too many. Powerful sense of futility of war and blunders costing too many lives. Some very sensitive scenes of camaraderie. Empathised more with Will's travails.

The novel starts in Sicily in 1926 with Angilu, a young shepherd and Ciro Albanese, a mafioso, bound for America, and returns to Sicily with the Allied landings. Here the mafia still abound and revenge and punishment are the norm. And brutal. No-one sees anything. Redeeming part of this Sicilian travail is Ray’s adventure. As it says at the end ‘we were really lost’. In more than one sense.
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By Roderick G. Bates on December 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I spend most of my reading time in the mystery genre, and only rarely emerge into the realm of serious literature. What a delight this was! In the Wolf's Mouth is beautifully written and compelling. I found the characters believable and the situations tense in a most organic way.

This is writing at its best. Kudos to Adam Foulds.

I may have to reconsider my reading practices.
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By LizW on October 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting concept but structure not quite worked out. Seemed like the concept, characters & settings mastered the author, rather than vice versa. Better luck next time.
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By Gustav Fleischmann on October 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Somewhat interesting but not a great book. Skips around without a purpose.
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