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The tenderness of wolves by Stef Penney

The tenderness of wolves (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Stef Penney

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Title:The tenderness of wolves
Authors:Stef Penney
Info:New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2008.
Collections:Your library

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The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney (2006)

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English (102)  Spanish (3)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
I haven't had such a love/hate relationship with a novel in years.

the setting, the characters, the world-building, the visuals, and the story.

the style/structure.

It's aggravatingly apparent that Penney is a screenwriter first and a beginner novelist. Parts of the book are grossly underwritten and sweeping visuals stand in for logical segues. But at the same time, the setting is a character in its own right and gets to play (wonderfully) with metaphor.

Can I give it 3.5 stars? Parts are really wonderful, especially the longest, most fully written scenes.

Also, yay for more historical queer romance. :) ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
The 1976 Costa Book of the Year, The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney is a complex story of life and murder in a small Canadian wilderness community during the winter of 1867. Lucy Ross discovers the body of her fur trapper/trader neighbour, scalped and with his throat slashed, and as the hue and cry rises, it is also found that her seventeen year old son has gone missing. The son, Francis, becomes the main suspect and the trail leads to another small community founded by a Norwegian religious sect and on to a Hudson’s Bay Post.

The story it told mostly by Lucy Ross, but shifts to other characters’ point of view in alternating chapters. This, for me, kept me both from becoming attached to any character and also for the story to become rather drawn out and muddied. The characters in this story come across as real and well fleshed out, but there were so many side stories that the book eventually became a rather frustrating read. Stories about two young girls who went out berry picking and disappeared into the wilderness, a Norwegian couple who indulge in an adulterous affair, and mysterious carvings that could possibly be proof of a Indian written language. These were all intriguing and would almost warrant their own book but in this book they eventually became distractions that pulled the readers’ attention away from the main plot.

There is no doubt that Stef Penney is an extremely talented author, but for me, I would have preferred a shorter, tighter story that kept the main story more as the main focus of the book. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 7, 2013 |
Backwoods Canada in the 1860s. There's a murder and lots of well drawn characters that want to know why. The relationships between these characters are particularly well drawn, as is the landscape. Very satisfying. ( )
  devilish2 | May 24, 2013 |
An amazing story of search and mystery in the days when Canada was nothing but wilderness, ruled by the Hudson Bay Company and travelled by fur traders and Natives.

Searchers follow searches, all trying to unravel various mysteries about murder, codes, and disappearances. There are many POVs, which allow the reader clues to the story as it slowly, artfully unravels. It's both good and bad that the various different story lines are not all neatly tied up at the end, but they are in a (mostly) satisfactory way.

If you liked [book:The Last Crossing] by [author:Guy Vanderhaeghe] you should read this book! (Or vice versa) ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
The Tenderness of Wolves is a good, plot-driven novel, which won the Costa Book of the Year award in 2006. The title is probably the best aspect of the novel, but that isn’t meant to disparage Penney’s book. I really enjoyed the story, which has pace and interesting plot twists. The writing is strong without being exceptional, and the characters are clearly delineated. There were a few too many of them, however, and some of them get lost (figuratively, though several get literally lost as well) towards the end of the book.

It is 1867. A trapper is brutally murdered in rural Canada, and a young man from the same community goes missing. Suspicions immediately fall on the missing man, but things are not all that they seem. The young man’s mother, desperate to find her son and prove his innocence, sets off into the wilderness on his trail. The book’s other characters get embroiled in this story, as they either assist or block her attempts to find her son. The plot also involves the discovery of a Native American written language and stolen furs.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed the story. I thought it could have been more streamlined, but as it was Penney’s debut, I guess that’s forgivable. I’m not much for thrillers, but I’m not sure that this really was a thriller or crime novel. It is much more of a human drama, though it certainly has elements of the abovementioned genres.

I should mention that I read the book a few weeks ago, and the characters have already grown dim in my memory – I cannot even recall the name of the main character (the mother). Whether this is because of bad memory, or because the book is forgettable, I don’t know. I can recall the details of the plot, however.

So, an enjoyable book, but not a great one. I’m not sure I’ll be reading more of Penney’s. I guess it’ll depend on the subject matter of her newer books. ( )
2 vote dmsteyn | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
I read The Tenderness of Wolves and fell into the story right away; the characters were well drawn and Penney is able to lead the reader from one page to the next.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Times, Alyson Rudd (Jun 23, 2007)
There are few things like an endless vista to make a novel seem really gratifyingly contained. The novel itself comes to seem like a fragile bubble of consciousness beyond whose limits is a threatening void. (And that's what novels, in one essential manner, are.) And living in the rudimentary civilisation of mid 19th-century Canada must have been like living in a novel: there is nothing to concentrate on except the flawed characters of your fellow human beings, and the spoor left by their movements. And that, in a way, is all The Tenderness of Wolves is about.
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The last time I saw Laurent Jammet, he was in Scott's store with a dead wolf over his shoulder.
Laurenta Jammeta sem nazadnje videla v Scottovi trgovini z mrtvim volkom čez ramo.
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Book description
1867, Canada

As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a woman steels herself for the journey of a lifetime. A man has been brutally murdered and her seventeen-year-old son has disappeared. The violence has re-opened old wounds and inflamed deep-running tensions in the frontier township - some want to solve the crime; others seek only to exploit it.

To clear her son's name, she has no choice but to follow the tracks leaving the dead man's cabin and head north into the forest and the desolate landscape that lies beyond it....
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1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, an isolated settlement in Canada's Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. A local woman, Mrs. Ross, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees tracks leading from the dead man's cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. But soon she makes another discovery: her son has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect. A variety of outsiders are drawn to the crime and to the township--but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One by one, searchers set out to follow the tracks across a desolate landscape, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for seventeen years, and a forgotten Native American culture before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good.--From publisher description.… (more)

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