BOOK REVIEW—MONGRELS BY STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES

Reading

This is a werewolf novel unlike any you’ve read, possibly unlike any every written. There are no foggy London alleys, no windswept moors, no crumbling castles drenched in moonlight. Mongrels is a white trash coming-of-age novel that swings back and forth across the American south from Texas to Florida.

Mongrels also swings back in forth in time, telling its story non sequentially in vignettes that, taken together, present a mosaic of life as a family of werewolves. The narrator is a boy traveling with his aunt and uncle, both werewolves, as they cut a bloody swath through the south, stopping here and there to work odd jobs and live for awhile before the bodies pile up and they have to move on. We meet the boy at various ages, both young and teenaged. This is a coming-of-age story with a unique twist—at he grows up he’s consumed with wondering when, and if, he will turn for the first time.

Jones gives us werewolf history and folklore that is wholly original and fascinating. He writes with a hypnotic rhythm, mixing graphic mayhem with surprising spurts of humor to offset the spurts of blood.

I can’t recommend Mongrels enough. It’s a tour de force.

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