Karen Cooper, January 3, 2010 (view all comments by Karen Cooper)
DEFINITELY my book of the decade. I saw this book on this website, ordered it, and lost a day to reading it. Made the mistake of giving it to my daughter, because I instantly wanted to read it again, and had to wait until she read it twice straight through. Narrative DRIVE! Poetic FORM which grabs you and then disappears! Utterly unique characters in a terrifyingly recognizable Southern California (I lived in Pasadena in my twenties). Can't understand why it hasn't become unutterably popular. And by the way, I teach Medieval Literature, but am begging to teach an American Lit course at my college, primarily to include this book and Maus. Buy it, but don't read the back, or any reviews--they give to much away. Just launch into it and lose your self!
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crowyhead, July 2, 2008 (view all comments by crowyhead)
Ok, it's a novel in free verse poetry about werewolves, which sounds ridiculous and pretentious. But I swear to you, if you read this, you'll practically forget that it's in poetry form. This novel, which involves competing packs of werewolves (or weredogs; they're really more like dogs) in LA, is sweaty, vicious, and gritty. It also has passages that are beautiful enough to make you suck in your breath. At times I felt that the author was muddling too many plotlines together, but overall I thought this was truly excellent and absorbing.
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snowflakeschance, May 5, 2008 (view all comments by snowflakeschance)
I was surprised at the format of the book when I first opened the cover. It is presented in a form that resembles a lengthy poem but, reads like a tale. Barlow's use of language drew me in instantly. I eased into the flow and "Sharp Teeth" took me along for one sweet ride.
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Karen Cooper, March 24, 2008 (view all comments by Karen Cooper)
I felt fortunate to have the flu the day I started this book, because I was able to stay home and lie in bed and devour it. My 23-year-old daughter has since gobbled it, and started all over, as I pant to one side waiting for my second go. Yes, it's that good--and I am seldom satisfied. The characters--so developed and idiosyncratic. Every small detail combining to make the world real: the humour, the names, the philosophies, the grim, strange tilt it imposes on one's mind. My only problem now is trying to get my friends to read it without telling them what it's about, since it defies expectations.
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JRLSberro, February 26, 2008 (view all comments by JRLSberro)
I absolutely loved this book - so much so that I read portions aloud to friends and colleagues! I alternately laughed out loud, cringed and cried. This is a marvelous and inventive work of fiction that, to me, defies categorization and satisfies on many levels. After only a page or two the free-verse form seems the perfect way to tell this story. And for those of us who share our hearts and homes with dogs - you'll never look at your dreaming pup the same way again!
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Barlow's gut-wrenching, sexy debut, a horror thriller in verse, follows three packs of feral dogs in East L.A. These creatures are in fact werewolves, men and women who can change into canine form at will ('Dog or wolf? More like one than the other/ but neither exactly'). Lark, the top dog in one of the packs who's a lawyer in human form, has a master plan that may involve taking over the city from the regular humans. Anthony Silvo, a dogcatcher and normally a loner, finds himself falling in love with a beautiful and mysterious woman ('Standing on four legs in her fur,/ she is her own brand of beast'). A strange small man and his giant partner play tournament bridge and are deep into the drug trade. A detective, Peabody, investigates several puzzling dog-related murders. The irregular verse form with its narrative economies proves an excellent vehicle to support all these disparate threads and then tie them together in the bittersweet conclusion. 5-city author tour. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Sam Anderson, New York Magazine,
"Every aspect of the book, from premise to form to cover design (black stylized dog snarling against a solid bloodred field), seems to have been focus-grouped to snag the attention of potential readers. It's encrusted in cognitive fishhooks. Even its epigraphs are brilliantly addictive....Such eager primping is not necessarily a bad thing." (read the entire New York Magazine review)
by Library Journal,
"Written in a free verse style that perfectly complements the action as it moves from slower-paced narratives to short, jagged scenes of graphic violence and heartbreak, this groundbreaking work commands attention from a wide audience."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Though the free-verse form takes getting used to, it serves to heighten Barlow's visceral imagery. A refreshing leap across genres."
by The Los Angeles Times,
"[A] kooky combo of grit, goofiness and gusto....[It] demonstrates that fantasy, unlike more literary offerings that play it too safe, may just be the place to find true exuberance and stylistic innovation."
by Nick Hornby, The Believer,
"Tremendous....As ambitious as any literary novel, because underneath all that fur, it's about identity, community, love, death, and all the things we want our books to be about."
by Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and What-the-Dickens,
"A sexy, dark and (well, yes) biting story told by a wizard of sleight of hand."
by Christopher Moore, bestselling author of A Dirty Job and You Suck: A Love Story,
"I'm impressed. I always knew stuff like this was going on in L.A. What a cool book!"
by Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan,
"If Ovid had been raised on a steady diet of Marvel Comics, Roger Corman and MTV, he might've written something like Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth."
"[A] new take on both the werewolf and urban fantasy genres. In a world where innovation is often shunted before ever being given its due, rare examples such as this should be congratulated for their daring."
Four separate generations of nameless characters struggle for redemption, love, and peace in a lyrically weaved collection of stories.
An anonymous cast spans four generations in the struggle for redemption, love, and peace. An immigrant cobbler sees his son wrongly arrested by a man who shines his shoes. The memory of a boy’s deceased mother is betrayed when his friend use her makeup as gag. A waitress secretly admires a man who atones for his troubled past by refurbishing a house. And a man laments his lost love by tracing her footsteps across the floors of his empty apartment. A storm looms, bringing the stories together across time and place, uniting them all by their common humanity. These intense portraits are packed with intelligent Christian allegory and lyricism that work together to culminate in one bright mosaic picture.
Capturing the pace and feel of a graphic novel, this spellbinding debut blends dark humor and epic themes with card-playing dogs, crystal meth labs, surfing, and carne asada tacos.
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