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Wolf in White Van: A Novel by John Darnielle
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Wolf in White Van: A Novel (original 2014; edition 2015)

by John Darnielle (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1186914,291 (3.7)35
Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian--a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail--Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America. Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.… (more)
Member:selfnoise
Title:Wolf in White Van: A Novel
Authors:John Darnielle (Author)
Info:Picador (2015), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work Information

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (2014)

  1. 00
    Universal Harvester by John Darnielle (sturlington)
  2. 00
    All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld (bibliovermis)
    bibliovermis: Another novel that can be read in either direction, exploring a teenage mistake and the moving on from it.
  3. 00
    Remainder by Tom McCarthy (revbean)
    revbean: Though quite different in a number of ways, Darnielle's Wolf in White Van and McCarthy's Remainder are both stories of men scarred by traumatic events who embrace world-creation as a means of coming to terms with their situations and (re)discovering themselves.… (more)
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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
A spiral of memory and storytelling, I enjoyed this exploration of trauma. At times the overlapping ambiguity felt contrived. The narrator lies to himself , he claims to value honesty but he can’t put words to the “accident” that irrevocably altered his life. We’re along for the ride. ( )
  jscape2000 | Mar 26, 2022 |
I liked the overall feel of the book--the exploration of feelings of adolescence (moments of connection and failure to connect) and otherness, the interweaving of fantasy and reality, the sense of mystery and of the inexplicable (complicated by the non-chronological telling, which leaves the reader to figure a lot out as he/she goes). I didn't like all of the threads of stories left dangling--the partly told narratives of characters I had grown curious about. I am quite sure this aspect is integral to the book (that "sense of the inexplicable" that I claimed I liked...). I could survive without knowing the whys, but I would like to stay with these characters a little longer to know more about the whats. That being said, it's often a good book that feels too short and leaves you (me) wanting more... so much better than the alternative. ( )
  little-gidding | Jan 6, 2022 |
I put this book in my horror tag because thats what I felt it was while I was reading it, and considered putting it in the scifi tag as well, but I think technically its adult contemporary.

Reading this (listening on audio actually) brought me to a really weird place. There is an intense nostalgia for a geek culture that was before my time yet still very relatable as it tied into being a teenager and outsider. Mental illness is prominent, although mostly unnamed. And the feelings of isolation and self destruction are brutally raw. Its a very intense read with MAJOR TRIGGER WARNINGS for self harm, suicide, and probably some other stuff I didnt pick up on. To be honest I think I missed out on some plot points, there is a lot happening and feeling.

Im going with 4 stars because I think this is very well written and constructed and even though I dont think I enjoyed it exactly. Its a very good book, but it might not make you feel very good. ( )
  mutantpudding | Dec 26, 2021 |
Narrated by the author
  Seayla2020 | Aug 23, 2021 |
Gorgeous writing and a really persuasive deep dive into the head of a troubled young man, but just a bit too elliptical. While touching and thought-provoking, by the end I still didn't feel like I understood what drove him. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
But what drives “Wolf in White Van” is Mr. Darnielle’s uncanny sense of what it’s like to feel marginalized, an outsider, a freak. He has an instinctive understanding of fetid teenage emotional states and the “timelines of meaningless afternoons that ended somewhere big and terrible.”
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, DWIGHT GARNER (Sep 25, 2014)
 
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Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian--a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail--Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America. Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.

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