So begins this bold and breathtakingly ambitious new novel from Stephen Marche, the provocative Esquire columnist and regular contributor to The Atlantic whose last work of fiction was described by the New York Times Book Review as “maybe the most exciting mash-up of literary genres since David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.” In The Hunger of the Wolf, Marche delivers a modern morality tale about the rapacity of global capitalism that manages to ask the most important questions we face about what it means to live in the new Gilded Age.
The body in the snow belonged to Ben Wylie, the heir to America’s second-wealthiest business dynasty, and it is found in a remote patch of northern Canada. Far away, in post-crash New York, Jamie Cabot, the son of the Wylie family’s housekeepers, must figure out how and why Ben died. He knows the answer lies in the tortured history of the Wylie family, who over three generations built up their massive holdings into several billion dollars’ worth of real estate, oil, and information systems despite a terrible family secret they must keep from the world. The threads of the Wylie men’s destinies, both financial and supernatural, lead twistingly but inevitably to the naked body in the snow and a final, chilling revelation.
The Hunger of the Wolf is a novel about what it means to be a man in the world of money. It is a story of fathers and sons, about secrets that are kept within families, and about the cost of the tension between the public face and the private soul. Spanning from the mills of Depression-era Pittsburgh to the Swinging London of the 1960s, from desolate Alberta to the factories of present-day China, it is a powerfully affecting work of fiction that uses the story of a single family to capture the way we live now: an epic, genre-busting tale of money, morality, and the American Dream.
Stephen Marche is a novelist and culture writer. For the past five years he has written a monthly column for Esquire magazine, “A Thousand Words About Our Culture,” as well as regular features and opinion pieces for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and elsewhere. His books include three novels, Hunger of the Wolf, Raymond and Hannah, and Shining at the Bottom of the Sea, as well as The Unmade Bed and How Shakespeare Changed Everything. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children.
“Spellbinding . . . No word is out of place in this taut multigenerational tale.” —Publishers Weekly
“Brilliant . . . Marche has created a stunning, evocative, and impressionistic account of the ascent of wealth in the twentieth century. . . . The Hunger of the Wolf could be Marche’s breakthrough novel.” —Booklist, starred review
“Superb . . . Part realist portrait of upper-crust lives, part lycanthropic fairy tale . . . An entertaining, curious journey into the beating black hearts that occupy the penthouse suites and those who aspire to join them.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A dazzling virtuoso piece. Marche turns the making of a family’s fortune into a fascinating, bloody fairy tale.” —Emma Donoghue, author of Room and Frog Music
“I read this book in basically a single sitting yesterday and have thought of little else since. It’s the kind of novel that makes me want to turn the last page and immediately turn it over and start reading it again. The Hunger of the Wolf is a modern masterpiece: The Great Gatsby for the new Gilded Age.” —James Frey