In the Wolf's Mouth PDF ´ In the PDF or

In the Wolf's Mouth 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 than the laptop keys There is much to love about this book Foulds’ narrative is rich with detail The imagery projected from the characters and their actions is vivid and compelling And I can’t help but notice that Foulds’ work does an excellent job of capturing the extremes of war sensitivity toward the horrors of war and the individual suffering of those victimized by it The two central characters Ray and Will work well enough on their own And although I felt a little upset the neither characters crossed paths I enjoyed seeing the evolution of these characters unfold throughout the narrative Ray’s naiveté and unpreparedness for battle has it implications You no longer see a Ray that fantasizes about his love for film and his cinematic heroes but someone who goes headstrong into war only to come out of it broken and lost I was a little worried that Ray would end up a caricature of the American solider a one dimensional stereotype searching for conflict out of some jingoistic nostalgia used as a justification for his role in the allies’ occupation of Sicily Instead we were given a character that is deeply flawed sensitive yet driven by his love for cinema The poetic nature of Foulds’ prose can be found among even the darkest most chaotic moments of the book I can’t help but think back on the battle scene that leaves Ray separated from some of his companions including George The character’s reactions to battle scenes seem to reflect the chaotic jumbled structure of Foulds’ depictions “This was the worst ever It couldn’t get worse than this The noise emplaced guns planes ripping over guns single shots bursts everything From different heights The ground surging up ahead” Ray’s point of view is disorienting pulling the reader into the experience With so much going on from explosions to screaming to gunfire it feels difficult to keep track of everything yet I can’t help but feel that this was intentional I would imagine that being in a situation such as this one would feel lost and helpless with the only course of action being to runThe fragility of life is beautifully represented during the German’s artillery attack As established earlier Foulds has a way with words From Ray’s point of view Foulds’ depiction of destruction feels personal and skin deep “He’d thought homes were as solidly consistent as prisms definite places full of families family odours meals and arguments and objects But they weren’t” Foulds piggybacks off of Ray’s experience by closing the passage with metaphor that pulls the experience together in neat yet haunting package “Life was a skin it could be peeled away like strips of wallpaper with its coherent pattern”On the other side of the allied forces Foulds introduces us to Will who seeks glory and honor in war but is forced into a diplomatic position There is an interesting dynamic between Will and his father that is explored early on His father a WWI war hero leaves Will with some innate desire to live up to the family name Will comes off as selfish compared to Ray But he is not a man without honor and tradition hence his initial refusal to lose his virginity to a prostitute Will goes through his own personal transformation and begins to take his political role seriously His association and sympathy toward local revolutionaries shows him in a seriously light leading to his meeting with the Bey of the country Unfortunately Ray’s position in the war isn’t uite as comforting Through Ray are shown psychological implications tied to war and conflict He comes close to crossing paths with Will after being sheltered in secret by the Bey’s daughter but nothing comes of it Mafioso Ciro Albanese is recruited by the American military and brought to the states to provide Intel that will help them defeat the Germans and the Italian fascists that have taken over Sicily Through Ciro we find ourselves with the villain of the narrative to some extent Although I find the central characters to be there own worst enemy with the war being the ultimate catalyst Ciro’s position as a Mafioso in America turned soldier carries a lot of weight not only for the narrative but the allies’ position in the conflict In a sense I see the allies’ compliance with organized crime families a representation of the often thrown around cliché “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” I know it’s cliché but it certainly applies here Ciro and Angilou who has essentially risen to power within the crime syndicate are central to this relationship and it’s position in the war That being said it’s Ciro’s methods that highlight him as the penultimate villain Ciro returns to Sicily determined to take back what he had lost his family leading to one of the most evil acts I have ever witnessed on paperThe ending is rather dark and abrupt but manages to close each characters arch rather well No one is truly left with a happy ending Ray does manage to gain back his insanity but after all that he had been through I can’t help but wonder if he feels like he has lost his sense of purpose Will never gets the satisfaction of bringing in Ciro Angilou only to be killed by Ciro’s son shoots Ciro beforehand It’s a series of misfortune selfish agendas deceit that unfolds amid war and conflict that I find impactful if not for the idea that war is capable of corrupting those with good intentions and empowering those with bad It’s a strong character study where the results feel justified in the end based on the actions of these characters One last note I can’t help but wonder if Ray and Will were essentially placed in opposite roles Ray was unprepared for war yet carried himself into it due to his naivety He may have been better suited for the officer role whereas Will wanted the satisfaction of being a war hero He wanted action as opposed to being stuck with what he initially deemed as a police role 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 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 scenario involving multiple characters and storylines and then leaves those narratives deliberately unconnected the potential deliberately unfulfilled It’s a deliberate choice and there are very clear reasons for it making it an interesting book to read and think aboutFirst a word on those different narratives We start with two rural Sicilians in pre war Sicily and then switch for the bulk of the book to the stories of two young Allied soldiers in World War II Italian American infrantryman Ray Marfione marches across Italy watches his friends die and gets badly lost both spiritually and geographically while English intelligence officer Will Walker blunders ineffectually across North Africa and ItalyThese characters Ray and Will constantly threaten to become protagonists but never actually do They lurch from place to place constantly at the mercy of unseen forcesWill tries to take bold action but is frustrated by incompetent and cowardly superior officers In north Africa for example he wants to hold the French colonial government accountable for imprisoning local people in a filthy underground pit called the ‘fish pond’ But his captain talks evasively of the balance of power and tells him to write up a report Later he makes negotiations with local leaders to have the area join the British Empire but is told that the British are pulling outAs for Ray he spends most of the war watching people get maimed and blown up He threatens to have a deep friendship with a fellow soldier but they are separated He hides out in the house of a local Italian prince and almost has an affair with the prince’s daughterThe only people who are real protagonists are those rural Sicilians we met right at the beginning – Angilu and Ciro a shepherd and a Mafioso Their lives are intertwined even though one of them goes to America and back and it’s these two who meet again at the end of the book with dramatic conseuencesThe British and the Americans on the other hand are just passing through Ray and Will both meet the prince for whom Angilu now works and Will threatens to have Ciro arrested but they have little real impact on the world of the people whose country they’ve invaded This is a story that belongs to the local people not the invaders just as the land belonged to them before and will continue to belong to them long after the armies and tanks have departedBy telling us so much of Ray and Will’s story and then depriving us of the central role I came to expect of them Foulds at first left me a little disappointed at the ending but then when I thought about it some I saw what he had done and why he had done itIt’s a clever strategy although not without risk the Daily Mail reviewer concluded that the book lacked narrative drive and thought that “another draft might have made it a whole lot better”I can see why he thought that but I think Foulds probably went through many drafts and shaped his story very carefully and deliberately to portray war in the way he saw it The end result was a book that gave me a fresh perspective on a very old conflict which I think is something of an achievement 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 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 but I expect to be picking up his previous novels uite soon A good discovery 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 1942Heavy 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 with Will's travailsThe novel starts in Sicily in 1926 with Angilu a young shepherd and Ciro Albanese a mafioso bound for America and returns to Sicily with the Allied landings Here the mafia still abound and revenge and punishment are the norm And brutal No one sees anything Redeeming part of this Sicilian travail is Ray’s adventure As it says at the end ‘we were really lost’ In than one sense 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 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 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 and his work in Sicily where the Mafia are uietly filling the power vacuum is fascinating and to me at least a fresh perspective The uotes from 'Wind in the Willows' that Foulds works in are well judged and work beautifully and even when Foulds introduces a scene that you think you've read many times before the ubiuitous visit to a prostitute he manages to breathe new life into it Unfortunately the focus of the novel is divided between Will and Ray an Italian American soldier with dreams of becoming a Hollywood director and this character is definitely the novel's weak link Ray is almost a cliché a character we've seen countless times before and who never truly comes to life Another problem for me were the 100 pages or so set in North Africa where Foulds evokes the Sicilian towns and countryside so well his North Africa could be anywhere; there is no sense of place whatsoever This section also contains a lot of battle writing but I found it lacking it felt perhaps understandably second hand with one chapter told in broken lines and scattered words that seemed like a writer's attempt to mimic the hand held camera work of 'Saving Private Ryan' or 'Band of Brothers' rather than trying to imagine himself in that situation For me it was very much a novel of two halves saved by some excellent writing especially in the sections devoted to Will and the Sicilian characters and a perfect final line En la boca del lobo es una novela sobre la guerra y la mafia la inocencia y la corrupción y la historia como acumulación de lo irremediable Ambientada principalmente en Sicilia durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial relata el intento de reconstrucción de un país después de una violenta contienda a través de la mirada de varios personajes Will Walker oficial inglés de Seguridad sobre el Terreno lleva a cabo una tentativa de dominio del gran juego de la inteligencia y la intervención militares Ray Marfione soldado de infantería italoamericano experimenta el devastador trauma psicológico de la batalla hasta ue poco a poco desde su escondite y con la ayuda de una princesa siciliana emprende el largo camino de retorno a la vida Cirò Albanese es un mafioso ue ha disfrutado de un prolongado y fructífero exilio en Nueva York durante los años del fascismo italiano Regresa para recuperar su vida anterior incluida la esposa ue desde hace mucho lo da por muerto Junto a algunos amigos liberados de prisión y con la ayuda inconsciente de los aliados trabaja por el restablecimiento del control de la mafia en Sicilia Escrita en capítulos cortos de una intensidad lírica extraordinaria

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