I don’t think I have ever seen a wolf in real life. There are a family of Spanish wolves in Blackpool Zoo but I am not big on zoos so will never see them. I’ve never been to Edinburgh Zoo or the one in Regents Park; the only zoos I can definitely say I have visited are the ones in Kabul, forty years ago and the Safari Park in San Diego, also decades ago. So long in fact that I can barely remember it.
I don’t think I have any particular affection or fondness for wolves. Obviously, they have been persecuted almost to extinction and I am sorry about that but if I were to support an animal charity, and I don’t I can find twenty more important animals worth conserving I think, than a wolf. There is a guy trying to re-introduce them to Scotland I believe but he is meeting tough opposition. Some people however do seem to have an empathy for them; they represent something, wildness, tragic, mysterious perhaps that appeals to their soul. How else really can you explain the misuse of the name wolf in so many works of literature and film. Dances with Wolves isn’t about wolves; Wolf of Wall Street isn’t about wolves. The Grey isn’t about wolves There is a TV Comedy show running at the moment called Raised by Wolves that definitely doesn’t have any wolves in it and recently we watched a stylish French drama called Witnesses which had a wolf in the credit sequence then in the final episode an unexplained appearance of two wolves in a cage which had zilch to do with the plot or narrative arc. Metaphor: but for what? Wildness? Mystery? Tragedy?
I have just finished a book called Tell the Wolves I’m Home [Carol Rifka Brunt]with many rave reviews on Amazon that has absolutely nothing to do with wolves and indeed I saw that it was the debut novel of an author with endless credits at the back and thanks to the entire staff at Picador and Pan and unworthy though the thought may be but I felt that some New York editor somewhere said, ‘We gotta have the word Wolf in the title to catch attention; people love wolf stories’. So they did. And for much the same reason they stuck a wolf in the opening credits of Witnesses and Raised by Wolves.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home I had to force myself to finish; all 350-pages. Not aimed at me, more for the Rainbow Rowell reader.
Best wolf story ever is Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing, of course. I’ve read it at least twice.