Monday 27 August 2012

The Werewolf of Paris: A Novel by Guy Endore - Book Review

Title: The Werewolf of Paris - A Novel
Author: Guy Endore
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: 17th July 2012
Pages: 250
Format: E-Book - PDF
Genre: Paranormal
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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The werewolf is one of the great iconic figures of horror in folklore, legend, film, and literature. And connoisseurs of horror fiction know that The Werewolf of Paris is a cornerstone work, a masterpiece of the genre that deservedly ranks with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Endore’s classic novel has not only withstood the test of time since it was first published in 1933, but it boldly used and portrayed elements of sexual compulsion in ways that had never been seen before, at least not in horror literature. In this gripping work of historical fiction, Endore’s werewolf, an outcast named Bertrand Caillet, travels across late 19th Century France seeking to calm the beast within. Stunning in its sexual frankness and eerie, fog-enshrouded visions, this novel was decidedly influential for the generations of horror and science fiction authors who came afterward. (Goodreads Synopsis)

This book has a slow start and occasional disjointed jumping in the middle of the narrative, but once it gets going it is a riveting story set against an intriguing historical backdrop.

I particularly like the way the violence of the werewolf is linked to and compared with the violence taking place in general at the time. It also offers a very frank appraisal of sexual proclivities and their link to violence.

This book is not the modern fare of smouldering alpha male, but I sense it is a work that paved the way for our current day werewolf tales. Certainly Bertrand exudes a sort of magnetism (much is made of his eyes) and the sexual elements are most definitely there. But in addition to that, this book is also part thriller, part historical fiction and part detective story.

I recommend this book to werewolf fans who are interested to see how the genre has progressed over the last 70 years and also to those who enjoy historical supernatural fiction.

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