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In the Wolf's Mouth

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  178 Ratings  ·  30 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 fie
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published February 6th 2014)
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(showing 1-30)
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Violet wells
You could say no one is boring if you truly get to know them. But what happens if an author doesn’t really get to know his characters? This novel taught me just how dependent a novel is on its characters. It doesn’t matter how well you can write or even how potentially compelling your story is – if your characters are pasteboard creations without an imaginatively powered inner life they simply won’t animate any circumstance they are led into.

Early on I thought this was going to be a great read.
Mar 22, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
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
Sep 03, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
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
Mar 10, 2015 Hugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2015
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.
Dylan Gullberg
Aug 01, 2015 Dylan Gullberg rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy Hogarth
Feb 21, 2015 Sandy Hogarth rated it liked it

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
Feb 05, 2017 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. Set mostly in Sicily in World War II, it follows the lives of several characters, including a Sicilian shepherd, an English soldier, an American Soldier, a Sicilian Princess and a Sicilian emigrant. Once the war has started the soldiers find themselves moving gradually towards the Italian island, where they interact with the locals. Travel and journeys are central themes, as is self-discovery, along with the usual love, life and death. I hadn't read anything before by Adam Foulds, ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww-ii
Reading books off our (voluminous) shelves, rather from library. I picked this book up because it takes place during WW II, a subject of interest to me. Four men are followed - one British soldier, one American (Italian) soldier, a Sicilian shepard and a Sicilian Mafia guy (who has been in US but returns to Italy at the end of the War. Interesting and well written account of the trauma of fighting and the difficulties of surviving.
Feb 15, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: shade-tree
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 19, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2014 Jon rated it really liked it
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
May 08, 2016 Suzy rated it liked it
Shelves: ww2-fiction
This book was well written and literary in style. It was also easy to read and poetic in places. Unfortunately the pace was slow and I found the characters dull. The story follows four people - a shepherd, a gangster, an Italian American infantryman and a British security officer. Their stories come together in Sicily at the conclusion of WW2, but not in any meaningful way - they just seem to intersect. What was done well, was the description of the fighting and brutality of war which the Italia ...more
John DiConsiglio
Aug 03, 2015 John DiConsiglio rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-2016, 2016
Four lives cross in North Africa & Sicily during the Allied advance on Italy in WW2: a smug British officer, a battle-scarred American infantryman, a penniless shepherd & an exiled local Mafioso. The author, a British poet, rejects traditional plot in favor of visceral imagery & interior monologues. It’s a good choice. What he sacrifices in narrative clarity he more than makes up for in lyricism—from pastoral scenes of the sun-scorched Sicilian countryside to terrifying glimpses of c ...more
Jun 23, 2014 Patricia rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 07, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
the story of two brothers and two men involved in organized crime at the end of World War II. It’s set in Africa and Sicily and as the story evolves, we see how these four men become entangled in the same tale. I’m not much for war stories, so it’s not quite my genre, but I do like tales being told with alternating narrators, and this did a fair job in that regard.
Chris Lilly
Sep 14, 2014 Chris Lilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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.
Roger Stowell
Jun 06, 2015 Roger Stowell rated it really liked it
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.
Kay Wright
Jul 11, 2015 Kay Wright rated it really liked it
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.
Jessica Pham
Dec 09, 2014 Jessica Pham rated it did not like it
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.
Sep 15, 2016 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction books. Espescially books based on war. Its a bit of an obsession for me. I really liked that this book had 2 main characters that it focused on. Each one having their own very different experiences in WWII.
Aug 31, 2014 Andrew rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 24, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it
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.
Mason Hemelgarn
Aug 26, 2016 Mason Hemelgarn rated it liked it
It was a good book but would not recommend to younger audiences and people that are not a fan of long not-so exciting events
Jan 29, 2015 Megan rated it liked it
The character development for some was lacking.
Jul 09, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
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.
Debbie Cresswell
Oct 14, 2015 Debbie Cresswell rated it really liked it
Very good and a page turner.
Sep 25, 2014 Julia rated it did not like it
Very disjointed and not captivating in any way.
Aug 25, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
3.75 as swung between 3 and 4 stars. Review to come.
Sep 09, 2015 Caroline rated it liked it
3.5 - had some really strong sections but the plot line really floundered at the end.
Roderick Bates
Roderick Bates rated it it was amazing
Feb 08, 2015
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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...

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