Shortlisted for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize
Set in North Africa and Sicily at the end of the last war, In the Wolf's Mouth follows the Allies' botched 'liberation' attempts as they chase the Germans north towards the Italian mainland. Focussing on the campaigns of two young soldiers – Will Walker, an English Field Security Officer, ambitious to master and shape events, and Ray Marfione, a wide-eyed Italian-American infantryman – the new novel from Adam Foulds contains some of the best battle writing of the past fifty years. Particularly eloquent on the brutish, blundering inaccuracy of war, this is a sensual, intimate experience: the immediacy of the prose uncanny and unforgettable.
The book opens with the stories of two Sicilians – Angilù, a young shepherd, caught up in corruption, and Cirò Albanese, a local Mafioso – and we meet the same two men in the terrifying final chapters, making it clear that the Mafia were there before and are there still; the slaughter of war only a temporary distraction.
A novel about many things, including the impossibility of good and evil, In the Wolf's Mouth shows how individual fates and truths are lost in the writing of history – lost, along with all tenderness and humanity. At the same time, Adam Foulds has remade a history: lifting it out of newsreel and back into its raw and helpless flesh and blood.
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