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- Publisher: VINTAGE
- Format: Paperback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 21mm | 230g
- Publication date: 7 August 2008
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0099512467
- ISBN 13: 9780099512462
- Sales rank: 123,917
An ancient race of lycanthropes survives in modern L.A. and its numbers are growing as packs convert the city's downtrodden into their fold. Stuck in the middle are a local dogcatcher and the woman he loves, whose secret past haunts her as she fights a bloody one-woman battle to save their relationship. Sharp Teeth is a novel-in-verse that blends epic themes with dark humour, dogs playing cards, crystal meth labs, and acts of heartache and betrayal in Southern California.
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Toby Barlow is an Executive Director at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson and a contributor to n+1 and the Huffington Post. Sharp Teeth is his first book.
"Alongside the sharp plotting, the poetry is exhilarating to read...The book's emotional register is similarly expansive, moving from the drily witty to the horrific and, often unexpectedly, the very moving. But beneath growls an unbroken note of menace...A love story so taut that you could floss with it" The Times "Violent...Tender...Cool...Ambitious...it's about identity, community, love, death, and all the things we want our books to be about" -- Nick Hornby "Forget any reservations you might have about werewolf stories or verse novels. This is great, engaging, wonderful stuff. Sondheim should make it his next musical" -- Michael Moorcock "The blending of urban heat and gothic savagery is blackly funny - and it works beautifully. The idea of lycanthropy has never been so hypnotically lyrical. And the romantic relationship between the human dog handler Anthony and secret shape shifter Sasha is drawn with real tenderness. There is biting comedy, too" Daily Telegraph "Daringly original... A wonderously strange story. His evocation of urban werefolf underworld is both inventive and probable" New Statesman
Rival gangs of werewolves duke it out for control of Los Angeles in this dark but oddly tender free-verse novel.The werewolves of Barlow's imagined world don't adhere to traditional rules - descendents of the ancient lycanthropes, they feed on flesh and are able to change from man to dog whenever they please, regardless of the lunar cycle. Unofficially, there is room for only one woman in each pack, and she tends to link herself to the leader. Lark is the dominant dog in the beginning, until his girl (who remains unnamed) strays, and he is betrayed by Baron, a member of his pack. There are a few changes in leadership, but eventually Baron pairs with Sasha, a darkly seductive female werewolf, to form a dangerous rival gang. Lark's former girl hides out in human form with Anthony, a fully human dogcatcher. The girl is desperately worried that her new love will uncover her secret, yet she continues using her charms to seduce and murder threatening members of the werewolf community. Lark, meanwhile, seeking temporary refuge, turns himself over to the Pasadena Animal Shelter, where he is adopted as a pet by Bonnie, an insecure and lonely suburban woman. While Bonnie is at work, Lark organizes a new pack, made up of an unlikely cast of characters, including the token woman, an abused bartender named Maria. In other events, just as Lark's former girl gets ready to leave the werewolf life and flee Los Angeles with Anthony, she is attacked by Sasha, who is trying to bump her off. Though the fight ends in the girl's favor, it compromises her hopes for a simpler future. Lark is left with his own struggles, as he juggles his role as pack leader and his (unexpectedly content) life with Bonnie. Though the free-verse form takes getting used to, it serves to heighten Barlow's visceral imagery.A refreshing leap across genres. (Kirkus Reviews)