Monday, January 9, 2017

All Bark and No Bite - The White Wolf

The White Wolf  by Franklin Gregory had so much going for it-sharp, witty prose, some original twists and narrative threads that you don't normally see in werewolf fiction that provide a deeper context. Sadly, this work was too short for me to feel satisfied by any of the story's aspects, since they all went underdeveloped.

The original 1941 cover, reproduced by
Valancourt Books
I appreciated that The White Wolf was set in Pennsylvania Dutch country, at the start of World War II. Pennsylvania, indeed most of the original thirteen colonies, are rife with ghost stories and supernatural lore, including the belief in werewolves and rampant wolf-hunting. Being a colonial historian, I relish the darker side of American history that can be found in abundance there. And the modern setting, rather than a strictly gothic one, can add a fresh voice to old trope. Neither of those identifiers were meaningful in this story. There were plenty of times when I had to remind myself what the setting was-it just wasn't pervasive in the storytelling, namely because Gregory was very slight with his descriptions. And without descriptions, the mood got lost.

He attempted to address the mythic, folkloric, religious, and psychological aspects of lycanthropy, and even the gothic trope of a cursed storyline. I would have enjoyed it very much had he pulled it off. But the book is so thin, and the story is pulled in too many directions for Gregory to dig deep. The result was something rather predictable with only the promise of something more.

K Rating: 6.5/10
**New Authors Goal: 2**

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