Manny's Reviews > Ramblefoot

Ramblefoot by Ken  Kaufman
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: command-performance, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, received-free-copy
Recommended for: People who like wolves and dogs

I got sent Ramblefoot last week by the author. He's a screenwriter with some impressive credits to his name (Space Cowboys, Curious George). This is his first novel.

Well, I've just finished it, and I'm unusually conflicted about what to say. It's easy to pick holes. The language is clunky and there is a startling lack of proofreading. It has a very unfinished feel to it. But in many ways it's quite a worthwhile book. The author wants to tell a story where all the characters are wolves, and not anthropomorphize them more than is absolutely necessary; it's the Watership Down formula with wolves instead of rabbits, but taken much further.

He seems to know a fair amount about wolves; there are many striking details it's hard to imagine him making up. He describes how obsessed they are with killing and eating prey, how they play and fight together to establish dominance, how they mate. There is a lot of extremely graphic violence and some equally graphic sex. Wolves do not exactly come across as nice guys, though they have a nobility the author captures well.

The central figure, Raspail, is sympathetic. He's a ferocious black wolf who almost loses his voice when his larynx is crushed in a fight, and as a result he is expelled from his pack. He has many adventures and suffers greatly. The other characters aren't particularly well-drawn, but Raspail is memorable and carries the story forward. You want to know what will happen to him and the pack of fellow outcasts he assembles round himself. There are some strong images that I'm sure will stay with me.

I wondered why the author had written it. Is he Raspail? I couldn't help considering the idea. It's easy to see that he might be an excellent screenwriter: he plans scenes and lays out the plot confidently. He's just not a novelist, though. His prose is leaden, but he doesn't really care. Maybe he's the noble wolf with the broken voice, exiled in novel-land and planning a terrible revenge. I hope he returns in triumph and vanquishes his enemies and turns this into the movie it was really meant to be. I'd go and watch it.
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Reading Progress

November 30, 2011 – Started Reading
November 30, 2011 – Shelved
November 30, 2011 –
0.0% "Just arrived. Thank you Ken!"
November 30, 2011 –
page 35
11.95% "I quite like the way the wolf-world is described mainly in terms of smell..."
December 2, 2011 –
page 95
32.42% "A rather good description of how enjoyable it is to swallow a still-beating elk heart and its glistening liver. Yum!"
December 3, 2011 –
page 145
49.49% "I'd just decided I didn't like this new character when he got his testicles bitten off and then drowned horribly in a sulfur spring. Well, evidently I called that one right."
December 5, 2011 –
page 210
71.67% "After reading this book, I will never buy or set a wolf trap. I admit it was fairly unlikely before, but now it's quite definite."
December 5, 2011 – Shelved as: command-performance
December 5, 2011 – Shelved as: too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts
December 6, 2011 – Finished Reading
May 16, 2014 – Shelved as: received-free-copy

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Mariel I want to read this.

message 2: by Paul (last edited Dec 06, 2011 02:04PM) (new)

Paul Bryant Is this a delf bublished thing? Because I'm always seeing comments about those bad joys and their lack of proof beading. How come helf publishers don't proof reab?

Manny Well, put it this way, there's a typo on page 1...

message 4: by Donna (last edited Dec 06, 2011 07:49PM) (new) - added it

Donna formatting comes into it too. It really pays to get a pro to format it, then preef rood the shit out of the thing.

Manny Hey guys, quit talking about the formatting! The wolves are actually more interesting. I promise you.

Though yes, having a pro proofread it would not have been a bad idea. Maybe a corrected edition could be brought out.

message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant who needs a pro to poof read a novel? I was going to say that I could do it with my eyes shut, but that would be an exaggeration. So : I could do it with my eyes open!

message 7: by Donna (new) - added it

Donna Well, damn. I liked all those

wolfy Ja
ck London books. I should give this a

message 8: by Donna (new) - added it

Donna Nice formatting and kind of Jack Londonish. I'm going to enjoy this. Thanks, Manny.

Manny Yes, Jack London must surely be an influence! I look forward to seeing your take on it. You said once you had dogs?

message 10: by Donna (new) - added it

Donna Had a dog when I was a kid. He was really neurotic. Would have preferred a wolf.

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