Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (March 26, 2013)
Explosive, transgressive and wildly inventive, Jack Wolf’s novel THE TALE OF RAW HEAD AND BLOODY BONES (Penguin Original; March 26, 2013; 978-0-14-312382-8; $16.00; also available as an ebook) is arrestingly authentic. UK based author Jack Wolf, who wrote the novel as a woman and has since transitioned to being a man, has fully embraced both the language and ideas of eighteenth-century England to create a beautiful and startling novel that contemplates questions of good and evil, faith and science, that are still relevant today. Moreover, while it does not explicitly deal with issues of gender identity, Wolf’s experience of transitioning from female to male is reflected in the writing, in particular in its focus on identity and what it feels like to be uncomfortable in one’s own skin.
The year is 1751 and Tristan Hart, a precociously talented student of medicine is studying under the legendary Dr. William Hunter in London. Tristan is fascinated by the nature of pain and preventing it; the relationship between mind and matter and the existence of God. He is a product of the Enlightenment, a rational man on a quest to cut through darkness and superstition with the scientific method.
But that is just one side of Tristan. Tristan is also a psychopath and a deviant, obsessed with the nature of pain and causing it. A product of an age of faeries and goblins, gnomes and shape-shifters, he is on a quest to arouse the perfect scream and slay the much feared folk demon Raw Head.
Profoundly imaginative, unexpectedly funny, and with a strange but moving love story at its heart, THE TALE OF RAW HEAD AND BLOODY BONES is a brutally beautiful and daring novel about the relationship between the mind and body, sex, madness, the nature of pain and the existence of God.
Praise from the UK:
“Evokes historical fiction such as Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Andrew Miller’s Ingenious Pain, and Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor. The Tale of Raw head and Bloody Bones, Jack Wolf’s debut novel, can stand alongside these modern classics. This is an extraordinarily controlled and artful book.”—The Financial Times
“Wolf’s sure hand with Hart’s voice and intelligent control of material including medical history and strange folk law results in a thrilling tale of transgression.”— The Metro
“Wolf is a superb storyteller who sucks the reader into his fascinating imagination. ”–The Times
“Quite startlingly, and beautifully, bloody… There is no escaping the fact that this is a vicious, extreme book. But it was a vicious, extreme time; there is great beauty in many of these scenes, and great humanity as well… Jack Wolf delivers his tale with passion, precision and poetry. Those of strong stomach and vivid imagination will find glittering delights in here.”– Lloyd Shepherd, The Guardian
“This rollicking mash-up of the scientific and the supernatural, the rational and loony, is by turns funny, moving, delicate and quite horrific. A terrific debut.” –The Daily Mail
Jack Wolf is currently studying for a Ph.D. and is at work on his second novel. He lives in the United Kingdom. The author was a woman when he wrote the book and is now transgender.
Jack Wolf’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, April 1st: Bibliophilia, Please
Wednesday, April 3rd: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, April 4th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Wednesday, April 10th: Mindful Musings
Thursday, April 11th: Wag the Fox – author guest post
Tuesday, April 16th: In Bed with Books
Wednesday, April 17th: Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Monday, April 22nd: More Than Just Magic
Wednesday, April 24th: Giraffe Days
Thursday, April 25th: Bookish Ardour
Monday, April 29th: A Reader of Fictions
Wednesday, May 1st: October Country
Friday, May 3rd: Darkeva’s Dark Delights
Tuesday, May 7th: Smash Attack Reads
Wednesday, May 8th: A Fantastical Librarian
Thursday, May 9th: A Daily Dose of R&R
Tuesday, May 14th: Let Them Read Books
TBD: Turning the Pages