Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blood, birth, and the rise of Tululla
This would be my choice for Tululla. Thank you, American Werewolf in London--which has THE best props. Way better than the cycles of the moon.
Oh, you know me...
I didn't read The Last Werewolf, but when I was offered the chance to read the newest installment in the series, I hopped on it. Who needs a first book anyway, I thought. So away I went, and immediately began second guessing my decision. If I'm anything at all, it's tenacious. I surged ahead.
The book opens on what I assume was the last place we left Tululla--pregnant and on the run from the vampires that would have her for their Helios project, which uses werewolf blood in the effort to produce a serum that would allow the undead to stroll in the sun and WOCOP, who would like to study her, amputate parts, then fill her full of silver bullets. Both situations would best be avoided by the very pregnant woman, who once a month, howls at the moon, runs amock, murders folk and devours them. Num!
I suppose if I'd read The Last Werewolf the first half of the book would have been far more enjoyable. As it was, I found the inner workings of Talulla's mind to be snobbish and high brow. Yes, I know that many would correct me and say that this was the stuff of real literature, but frankly, real lit is often full of itself. I should know. I'm an elitist myself, but most of the time try to tone it down. Duncan does not. He loves nothing more than to examine every dirty nuance of the human experience before grinding it beneath a mortar and pestle. This depth can be unnerving, and maybe it is this essence that Duncan means to extract. The essence is what real literature is made of. Duncan somehow does this to great effect.
Does this then mean that I take back my opinion of snobbery? No. Duncan gets it done. How he gets it done was often hard for me to stomach. The truth is, this book is not your typical genre novel and I had a hard time adjusting my expectations. Talulla is a über cerebral character whose thoughts often made me uncomfortable, but like most characters, I learned to accept her. I had to adjust my expectations. Once I did, and the plot progressed, I found myself liking this book.
So what? I needed the attitude adjustment and suddenly I liked it? Well no. If I'm honest, so much of Tululla's feelings about being a mother--both her ambivalence and her devotion struck a nerve with me. I connected in this one area and everything else fell into place.
I love that Tululla doesn't want to love her own. I love it that she doesn't want to lose, but then can't help but love. Isn't that the way of it? I love that she denies God, because it's magic and hocus-pocus, but prays in her own unique way. I love that she is appalling, and horrific, and real.
Here's the other thing about this book, I like the way Duncan thinks about outcome and plot. I get tired of predictability, and apparently so does Duncan. This is a horror in so many more ways than the mere presence of vampires and werewolves. Survival. Life. These are at stake always. This is what kept the pages turning.
Hey, You're Being a Real C-U-Next-Tuesday, if You Know What I Mean.
Is this book for everyone? Uh, no. Let me be clear. This book is rated R. Maybe examples are required? Listen, Tululla refers to her vagina as her c-u-next Tuesday. This is one of those instances that I was referring to when I mentioned über cerebral BS. Maybe Duncan thinks that all liberal feminists go around offhandedly talking about their c$&@s, but we don't.
Tululla Rising is unapologetically sexual and violent. You should know this before going in. If you are squeamish or beyond offended by the C word, this is not for you. If you are like me, and just about anything goes, then dig in and hang on. Tululla is indeed rising.
Advance Reader Copy provided by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
View all my reviews