Open Road Integrated Media
Open Road Media
Winner of the National Book Award for Best First Novel: Ann Arensberg’s celebrated work tells a hallucinatory tale of sexual desire, jealousy, and savage love
On a June night in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, Marit Deym prowls her land, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the van from the Dangerfield Zoo. When it finally comes—hours late—five wolves leap out onto the sprawling wildlife refuge Marit has created. And then one night, the wolves bring a stranger to her door.
A poetry instructor at a school for the blind, Gabriel Frankman lives in self-imposed exile after the death of the girl he loved. He visits her grave every weekend. He carries sunflower seeds in his backpack and his friends are the birds. Meeting the girl who keeps wolves will transform Gabriel’s life in ways he could never imagine.
Haunting and lyrical, shot through with grace notes of passion and sorrow, Sister Wolf is about the power of human beings—like that of their animal brethren—to survive and endure.
A day after finishing this book I am still not quite sure what I felt about this book – it has a unique style and rhythm; dropping in and out of past and present. I enjoyed the recounting of a historical landscape that was totally alien to me – an aristocratic Hungarian family’s perspective set in the early/mid 1900’s. The descriptions of the everyday and the occasions were engaging and shed a light on how the essence of Marit was formed.
I enjoyed the sub text about the setting up of the private animal refuge and the relationship that Marit has in particular with the wolves – this I think could have been the main ingredient of a book in itself. However these elements were not really enough to engage me; I found all the characters needed fleshing out and I did not find any that were at all likable. I find myself asking – what was the point of this narrative other than to ask the question – who really was captive – the wolves or Marit? Whose behaviour more civilised – Marit’s or the animals in her refuge? The animals win hands down.