No. 8

Fuck this book.

Fuck this book.

Make a deal with your agent whereby you're allowed to write one shitty "literary" novel and then you'll switch to werewolf fiction.

Honestly, I have no idea how this book got through the system. Percy is a University of Iowa darling with a short story collection everyone loved, and somehow he got a book deal for The Wilding before he was close to done with it, and I'd say he's still not close to done with it. It's a tapeworm of a novel, thin and flat and tears up your insides.

ATTENTION PUBLISHING INDUSTRY, if you're going to make a rule that says bad first novels won't get published anymore, I guess that's fine, although you might be aborting the next Don DeLillo, but stick to it; don't make exceptions for fucking Benjamin Percy. I try not to trash writers who regard themselves or are regarded as literary, not strictly out of concern for karma, but something like that, but The Wilding is a heap of hot shit with a little dog vomit mixed in for a subplot. The only reason I can come up with for why this got published is because it's about rural gentrification, but Graywolf could have gotten Isaac Brock to turn "Cowboy Dan" into a novel and humanity would have been much better off.

There are worse novels out there; I can usually spot them before I waste my time trying to read them, but this one got me. I can't think of any bad novel that I've read that's received as much ass-kissing as The Wilding, although I will concede that it's not entirely bad; it has some mediocre parts, as well.