Synopses & Reviews
Then she opened her mouth to scream — and recognised me. It was what I'd been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “Its you.”
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you'd never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you — and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.
Jake's depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide — even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.
Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend — mesmerizing and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century — a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.
One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Space should be cleared for this violent, sexy thriller...The answer to Twilight that adults have been waiting for." Booklist
"Yes, there are vampires here...But don't give this book to Twilight groupies; the frank tone, dark wit, and elegant, sophisticated language will likely do them in....[S]mart, original, and completely absorbing. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"A magnificent novel. A brutal, indignant, lunatic howl. A sexy, blood-spattered page-turner, beautifully crafted and full of genuine suspense, that tears the thorax out of the horror genre to create something that stands rapturous and majestic and entirely on its own." Nick Cave
Glen Duncan delivers a powerful, sexy new version of the werewolf legend, a riveting and monstrous thriller — with a profoundly human heart.
Jake Marlowe is the last werewolf. Now just over 200 years old, Jake has an insatiable appreciation for good scotch, books, and the pleasures of the flesh, with a voracious libido and a hunger for meat that drives him crazy each full moon. Although he is physically healthy, Jake has slipped into a deep existential crisis, considering taking his own life and ending a legend that has lived for thousands of years. But there are two dangerous groups — one new, one ancient — with reasons of their own for wanting Jake very much alive.
About the Author
Glen Duncan is the author of seven previous novels. He was chosen by both Arena and The Times Literary Supplement as one of Britain’s best young novelists. He lives in London.
Reading Group Guide
The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of The Last Werewolf, Glenn Duncan’s brilliantly literate re-imagining of the werewolf story.
1. Werewolves have a long literary lineage, in folk tales and works of fiction, and they loom large in popular culture. In what ways does The Last Werewolf remain faithful to the genre and at the same time bring something new to it? In what ways is it innovative?
2. Once a month, Jake murders and eats an innocent human being (or mostly innocent—hedge fund manger is borderline). And yet he is a tremendously likable character. How does Duncan make him so appealing despite his being a monster?
3. Why is Jake so disillusioned with life as the novel begins? Why is he willing to let himself be killed? What makes him want to live again?
4. Jacqueline Delon tells Jake: “Werewolves are not a subject for academe...but you know what the professors would be saying if they were. ‘Monsters die out when the collective imagination no longer needs them. Species death like this is nothing more than a shift in the aggregate psychic agenda." Why would human beings need to create monsters? What psychic function do monsters such as werewolves and vampires serve? Is Delon correct in concluding that “The beast is redundant. It’s been us all along”?
5. Why does Jake murder and devour his wife and their unborn child as his first kill? How does he punish himself for that crime?
6. Throughout his narrative, Jake references Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, Matthew Arnold, Nabakov, Susan Sontag, Ovid, and many other writers. What does his literary sophistication and general worldliness add to his character?
7. Is “the Hunger” as Jake calls it—the irresistible need to kill and eat a live human being—a metaphor? Does it have some larger meaning, or is it simply what werewolves are condemned to do?
8. What makes Glenn Duncan’s prose style so distinctive and engaging? What are some of the novel’s most arresting passages or scenes?
9. Why does Jake keep a journal? What function does telling his story serve for him? Is Jacqueline Delon right when she says: “What is this—what are these journals—if not the compulsion to tell the truth of what you are? And what is the compulsion to tell the truth if not a moral compulsion?” Is Jake, in the end, a moral being?
10. Why do Ellis, Poulsom, and the vampires all want Jake to live? Why does Grainer want him dead?
11. The Last Werewolf is a tremendously sensual novel. After making love in a Manhattan hotel, Jake and Talulla lie on the bed, “warm as a pot of sunlit honey." What are some of the novel’s most erotically charged passages? What are some other examples of the sensuousness of Duncan’s prose?
12. Why would variations on the ironic statement, You live because you have to. There is no God and this is his only Commandment appear like a refrain throughout the novel? What is Jake’s attitude toward God and irony?
13. The Last Werewolf is a supernatural thriller, a witty and often biting cultural commentary, a confession narrative, and a love story. What does the love story, Jake’s relationship with Talulla, add to the novel? Why is it important, both in terms of the plot and in terms of Jake’s emotional development? How does being with Tululla change him?
14. In talking about Quinn’s journal and why he tried to find it, Jake tells Talulla: “It’s the same old shit. The desire to know whence we came in the hope it’ll shed light on why we’re here and where we’re going. The desire for life to mean something more than random subatomic babble." Why might a werewolf be especially concerned with the origin and meaning of his life? Does Jake really feel it’s foolish to want answers to those questions?
15. What is the irony of America’s Next Top Model playing in background as Jake and Tululla devour music producer Drew Hillard? Where else does Jake make references to pop culture? In what ways does the novel present a critique of pop culture while at the same time participating in it?