The Hunger of the Wolf

The first Evergreen book I chose this yer was Stephen Marche’s The Hunger of the Wolf, a sweeping family saga. It follows the Wylie family over the course of three generations from their hardscrabble beginnings in the early twentieth century to the death of the last true Wylie in present day, head of a multinational conglomeration and one of the richest men around. The whole time they are hiding a deep, dark family secret (I’m pretty sure I read a review and/or synopsis that mentioned it, but it’s not on the book jacket so I won’t reveal any potential spoilers).

The novel has an interesting framework; although about the Wylie family it’s told form the perspective of Jamie Cabot, the son of the caretaker at their remote cabin in Northern Canada. He pieces together their story from old documents, bits of local gossip, and of course his own childhood memories. I liked getting this mix of first person narrative (such as when we are treated to letters written by the Wylies) and third person perspective.

I had high hopes for this one, and I did enjoy it at first, the whole thing had the feel of a literary fairytale mashup. But I started to lose interest about half-way through and it was a bit of a struggle to finish it. I don’t know how else to put this other than to say it was a very manly novel – it felt like one of those macho fast-paced movies about greedy Wall Street big shots, understandable given how much it focused on how the Wylie family clawed their way to the top of the corporate world. It wasn’t a bad book, in fact I think it was quite skillfully crafted, but it just wasn’t to my taste.

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