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In the Wolf's Mouth: A Novel

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A new novel by the author Julian Barnes called "one of the best British writers to emerge in the last decade"

Set in North Africa and Sicily at the end of World War II, In the Wolf's Mouth follows the Allies' botched "liberation" attempts as they chased the Nazis north toward the Italian mainland. Focusing on the experiences of two young soldiers--Will Walker, an English fi
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published February 6th 2014)
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I had expected to see a lot of fiction about the First World War in 2014, but it seems like every other new novel I pick up is set in or around the Second World War. There's nothing wrong with that, and I've read enough WW2 fiction to know there are as many stories as there were participants, but still, a novel needs to bring something fresh to the genre to have any impact. And on that score, Foulds only half succeeds. The parts of the novel devoted to Will, the British Field Security Officer, a ...more
Reading Adam Foulds’s new novel In the Wolf’s Mouth, I was reminded of literary movements like Oulipo, which explored the concept of ‘potential literature’.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that the novel is particularly experimental. It’s the ‘potential’ aspect that stuck in my head. In the world of Oulipo and others, the emphasis was more on the creation of new possibilities, rather than the actual execution of those ideas. In the Wolf’s Mouth is in some ways a potential novel. It sets up a scenari
Sandy Hogarth

Focuses on two very different soldiers: Ray, an innocent Italian American infantryman and the very different Will, an ambitious officer, speaks Arabic and overestimates his importance in war. North Africa, 1942
Heavy battle scenes especially where Ray involved. I found them repetitive and little boring but that may be that I’ve read too many. Powerful sense of futility of war and blunders costing too many lives. Some very sensitive scenes of camaraderie. Empathised more with Will's travails.

The n
Dylan Gullberg
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Foulds is one of the most precise novelists I've read in a long time--he seems always to find exactly the right word when most novelists would settle for second best and hurry on. Especially in a suspense-driven war novel like this one, alternating between brutal scenes of battle in north Africa and calmer scenes of semi-competent administration in secure areas. Especially fascinating were the parts that dealt with the allies' swift takeover of Sicily as they began their move north into Europe, ...more
Spoilers after the first paragraph

Adam Foulds is such a skilled writer, I don’t even know where to begin. This might be the closest thing I've seen to a perfectly written book. As others have mentioned I could leave it for weeks, but once I picked it up I wanted to keep reading. All the chaos, people in the wrong jobs and lack of ethics was a brilliant and intentional display of what war is really like. Having never been there myself I wonder if war today is still as messy? Will and Ray’s narr
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Don't waste your time. It started out promising but petered out as if the author couldn't figure out how to end it. Depressing and pointless; other than the description of the way in which the American military unfortunately collaborated with the Sicilian criminal element in America to scrub Sicily of the Fascist element; which resulted in strengthening the Mafia stranglehold and giving them a cover to settle old scores.
Kay Wright
For some reason I've read more than my share of war fiction recently. This book stands out for its description of the affect of war on the innocents who live where troops fight. The side story of how the Mafia controlled Sicily and who was named as collaborators. A fascinating story, well told.
It was what it was. Like a sketch for a big blockbustery kind of thing which ran out of steam before it got started. Like a pilot for the tv series that won't happen. Foulds can write in a no nonsense kind of way, but this assemblage never moves more than the laptop keys.
Although the writing is superb, the author is definitely a word smith, the plot needs some work. This story is about Sicily during World War II, specifically when the Americans and British land. One sees the roots of the Mafia in this story.
Roger Stowell
Exceptional prose .....wonderful use of words....I did feel all that talent was wasted on what felt like a TV series...however, I look forward to reading more of his stuff. The pleasure of the words was enough.
Jessica Pham
I wanted to stop reading several times but kept thinking it had to get better. It didn't...and I shouldn't of wasted my time. There's very few books I feel this way about but this is one that never seemed to go anywhere.
Chris Lilly
Cool, slightly ennervated descriptions of extreme events. The level gaze is compelling, but makes the chief characters, especially Ray and Angilu, a bit distant and unknowable. Effortlessly graceful prose, and the descriptions are really vivid, but I ended up feeling most concern for Angilu's mule and his dog.
Very good book like a war story and a mafia story all in one. Very good character development and prose. The end is a little strange but a very good story non the less.
3.5 - had some really strong sections but the plot line really floundered at the end.
Couldn't get into it.
Very disjointed and not captivating in any way.
The character development for some was lacking.
3.75 as swung between 3 and 4 stars. Review to come.
This is an intriguing and complex story set in North Africa and Sicily during the Second World War. A fractured and in places visceral narrative follows and eventually links four characters from different worlds through the chaos of war, and the politics of the aftermath. Powerful stuff.
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Adam Foulds (born 1974) is a British novelist and poet.

He was educated at Bancroft's School, read English at St Catherine's College, Oxford under Craig Raine, and graduated with an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in 2001. Foulds published The Truth About These Strange Times, a novel, in 2007. This won a Betty Trask Award. The novel, which is set in the present day, is con
More about Adam Foulds...
The Quickening Maze The Broken Word The Truth about These Strange Times Granta 123: The Best of Young British Novelists 4

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