My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Torak woke with a jolt from a sleep he’d never meant to have”
This, the opener to Paver’s stone age saga, sets the scene instantly and does so with a great and vivid grace. This sentence. This book. This story, this richness of story, this richness of tone, of voice, this book, oh my god, this book.
It’s rare, I think, to find a story which is written so sparsely, so subtly, and yet have every word tinged with such a great and terrible grace that you can feel it. All of it. The words spill from this book until it is not book-bound and simply is.
It is a great and terrible thing, Paver’s writing, for she writes so quietly and perfectly. So simply. So tightly: “An ember spat. The dark trees leaned closer to listen”.
This is such story.
It is the story of Torak’s quest; his father has been slaughtered by a giant demon who came to them as an immense bear, and now Torak has to survive against a world that is full of terror and foretold horrors. The only thing he has on his side is Wolf; his ally, his brother, a young wolf cub.
Paver shifts viewpoints between the two characters occasionally, writing both young boy and young wolf with such grace. There’s a great orality to her text as well, a spell in her words.
When I reached the end of this, I started to get a bit nervous. Have you ever had that? That sort of book sadness; that feel that nothing can ever be as quite as good as this moment that you have, right now, this connection between you and a story, and you are so deeply aware that you may never experience that again? I had that. I have that now. I don’t want to let this book go and yet, I have the feverish urge to want to do so. I need this story to go on. I need more of Paver’s beautiful writing. I need it.
One final thing to note is that I was lucky enough to read the 10th anniversary edition of Wolf Brother, courtesy of Orion (ISBN: 9781444015416). It is a ridiculously beautiful book as so many of theirs are and a genuine joy to read. The cover is embossed and the edge of the papers are inked with signs and symbols from the book. It is so beautiful. So, so beautiful.