cover image Darkest Desire: The Wolf's Own Tale

Darkest Desire: The Wolf's Own Tale

Anthony Schmitz. Ecco, $19 (134pp) ISBN 978-0-88001-626-1

In the clever conceit of Schmitz's (Lost Souls) novella, an articulate wolf with a passion for eating children is approached by the Brothers Grimm, who claim they want to help cure him of his desire, but, in fact, use him for their own literary inspiration. While the Brothers conduct their ostensible therapy, another figure, a changeling whom the nameless wolf calls Devil, argues that by eating children the wolf is only being true to his nature. Eventually, the Brothers lure the wolf to attack a house where children have been left alone. Schmitz's postmodern rewriting of familiar folk tales explores ideas of forbidden desire and of the manipulative relationship storytellers often have with their subjects. The narrative's brevity is a little thin rather than dense, like an observant short story stretched to book length. Schmitz is clearly an adroit storyteller, nevertheless, and his wolf emerges as a sympathetic narrator, his tale brisk and sly, if unsurprising. (Nov.)