A Wolf in the Soul Paperback – January 19, 2014
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About the Author
- Publisher : Leviathan press (January 19, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 460 pages
- ISBN-10 : 188192713X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1881927136
- Item Weight : 1.48 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.98 x 1.02 x 9.02 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,637,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The story and the writing style kept me captivated and were excellent. I read it in only a few days and want a sequel, or at least, more to read by the author.
From the very first, the book never strayed from that initial intrigue. A Wolf In The Soul is a well written book, worth re-reading.
Greg Samstag, a nice Jewish boy from a nominally well-off, nominally Jewish Long Island family, examines the usual and some quite unusual issues of existing and traversing the front end of a presumably moral and purpose-driven life. Added to the tangled and difficult relationships among young Greg and his troubling, troubled mother and his troubling, untroubled father, there is Jen, Greg’s less complicated, all-seeing, more percipient, and definitely more religious younger sister who provides a continuous needle of humor and insistent directional pressure on a spiritually meandering Greg.
After graduation from a yeshiva day school, Greg initiates an aborted foray into an undirected, conflicted semester at Columbia University. The semester is fraught with bizarre room-mates, standard self-doubts, a deepening dabble in alternative homeopathic healing due to an inexplicable appearance of uncharacteristic facial hair, and a developing encounter with a mysterious animal force.
Greg’s spiritual dalliance with the shadowy wolf begins somewhat ambiguously, a creative ploy making this reader wonder whether eventual possession will be real or purely psychological. The alternative resolutions create an interesting tension which resolves itself quite naturally and satisfactorily over a gradual and dexterous development.
Greg begins a quest to Israel which initially is more flight from the wolf than a quest for religious enlightenment. His flight from the wolf nearly seamlessly morphs into a quest for religious awakening among a riotous cohort of yeshiva students studying with a distinctive rabbi in the Har Nof suburb of Jerusalem. Even though Greg makes unexpected progress, his quest is attenuated by a full circle return to Long Island due largely to an urgent signal from sister Jen that family implosion is imminent. Greg’s return once again places him in danger of losing soul and perhaps life in a well-wrought showdown with the wolf.
This novel is a coming-of-age tale that pairs religious quest and baser, animalistic tendencies of the human using wolf as metaphor. The wolf is not maligned in the process, merely a powerful and assertive presence. The arch structure of the novel sustains its flow very naturally. The wolf, Greg’s sister, and his sometimes valued, sometimes not so valued, old yeshiva day school pal, Joey, all serve as recurring plot and structural helpmates.
The use of Yiddish terms, rendered with reserve and contextual clarity, should be no problem for most readers and creates a most exotic context in which to house a werewolf tale. Much more than a nu dropped here and there and a healthy (or unhealthy, as it were) sprinkling of metaphoric wolves, this novel delves with some complexity into matters orthodox and Kabbalistic.
The novel flows compellingly, the dialogue and descriptions are apt, and, best of all, it reads even better the second time.
The writing is excellent and the message is compelling. I would recommend it to readers of all ages.