Glen Duncan delivers a powerful, sexy new version of the
werewolf legend, a riveting and monstrous thriller--with a
profoundly human heart.
Jake Marlowe is the last werewolf. Now just over 200 years old,
Jake has an insatiable appreciation for good scotch, books, and the
pleasures of the flesh, with a voracious libido and a hunger for
meat that drives him crazy each full moon. Although he is
physically healthy, Jake has slipped into a deep existential
crisis, considering taking his own life and ending a legend that
has lived for thousands of years. But there are two dangerous
groups--one new, one ancient--with reasons of their own for wanting
Jake very much alive.
The introduction, discussion questions, and suggested further
reading that follow are designed to enhance your group's discussion
of The Last Werewolf, Glenn Duncan's brilliantly literate
re-imagining of the werewolf story.
1. Werewolves have a long literary lineage, in folk tales and
works of fiction, and they loom large in popular culture. In what
ways does The Last Werewolf remain faithful to the genre and at the
same time bring something new to it? In what ways is it
2. Once a month, Jake murders and eats an innocent human being
(or mostly innocent-hedge fund manger is borderline). And yet he is
a tremendously likable character. How does Duncan make him so
appealing despite his being a monster?
3. Why is Jake so disillusioned with life as the novel begins?
Why is he willing to let himself be killed? What makes him want to
4. Jacqueline Delon tells Jake: "Werewolves are not a subject
for academe...but you know what the professors would be saying if
they were. 'Monsters die out when the collective imagination no
longer needs them. Species death like this is nothing more than a
shift in the aggregate psychic agenda." Why would human beings need
to create monsters? What psychic function do monsters such as
werewolves and vampires serve? Is Delon correct in concluding that
"The beast is redundant. It's been us all along"?
5. Why does Jake murder and devour his wife and their unborn
child as his first kill? How does he punish himself for that
6. Throughout his narrative, Jake references Shakespeare,
Charlotte Bronte, Matthew Arnold, Nabakov, Susan Sontag, Ovid, and
many other writers. What does his literary sophistication and
general worldliness add to his character?
7. Is "the Hunger" as Jake calls it-the irresistible need to
kill and eat a live human being-a metaphor? Does it have some
larger meaning, or is it simply what werewolves are condemned to
8. What makes Glenn Duncan's prose style so distinctive and
engaging? What are some of the novel's most arresting passages or
9. Why does Jake keep a journal? What function does telling his
story serve for him? Is Jacqueline Delon right when she says: "What
is this-what are these journals-if not the compulsion to tell the
truth of what you are? And what is the compulsion to tell the truth
if not a moral compulsion?" Is Jake, in the end, a moral being?
10. Why do Ellis, Poulsom, and the vampires all want Jake to
live? Why does Grainer want him dead?
11. The Last Werewolf is a tremendously sensual novel. After
making love in a Manhattan hotel, Jake and Talulla lie on the bed,
"warm as a pot of sunlit honey." What are some of the novel's most
erotically charged passages? What are some other examples of the
sensuousness of Duncan's prose?
12. Why would variations on the ironic statement, You live
because you have to. There is no God and this is his only
Commandment appear like a refrain throughout the novel? What is
Jake's attitude toward God and irony?
13. The Last Werewolf is a supernatural thriller, a witty and
often biting cultural commentary, a confession narrative, and a
love story. What does the love story, Jake's relationship with
Talulla, add to the novel? Why is it important, both in terms of
the plot and in terms of Jake's emotional development? How does
being with Tululla change him?
14. In talking about Quinn's journal and why he tried to find
it, Jake tells Talulla: "It's the same old shit. The desire to know
whence we came in the hope it'll shed light on why we're here and
where we're going. The desire for life to mean something more than
random subatomic babble." Why might a werewolf be especially
concerned with the origin and meaning of his life? Does Jake really
feel it's foolish to want answers to those questions?
15. What is the irony of America's Next Top Model playing in
background as Jake and Tululla devour music producer Drew Hillard?
Where else does Jake make references to pop culture? In what ways
does the novel present a critique of pop culture while at the same
time participating in it?
Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. But there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.