Wolf in White Van

Wolf in White Van

A Novel

Book - 2014
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Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of 17, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds in which strangers may play together. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian, Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore. But when two high school students from Florida take their play into the real world, disaster strikes.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2014.
Edition: First Canadian edition
ISBN: 9781443437387
Branch Call Number: FIC Darni
Characteristics: 207 pages ; 23 cm.


From the critics

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Oct 20, 2017

Darnielle's first novel is a bit of a challenge. Not to read, necessarily, but to fully appreciate. His prose flows smoothly and his writing is evocative and beautiful and this novel is full of quiet, perfect scenes (my favorite being a moment with the main character hanging out with a couple of teens outside a liquor store). But at the same time we are thrust into the dark, twisting labyrinth of our disfigured hero's mind, and it is a terrifying place to be. We leap from past to present, from reality to fantasy, from kindness to anger. We see so much, but in the end do we really know our hero? Does he know himself?

Sep 24, 2016

This book is not anywhere as interesting as people claim. It is a thin read but I just could not find the interest or energy to finish it.

I started reading this book because I was a fan of John Darnielle's music. I did not expect to be so swept away by his writing. Not only are his words crafted as carefully as you would expect from a poet, but the story is so original and emotional. It is a book that has changed me forever.

Mar 04, 2016

Aspects of this book keep popping into my mind months after I've read it. The endearing fantasy letter correspondence game, the satanic panic referenced in the title, the way main character's likable personality is entangled with his darkly disturbed past. I was hoping John Darnielle would supply a novel on par with his music, and this book left me with the same heavy feeling that we're all plainly screwed up. I loved it!

cmlibrary_sgoldstein Dec 14, 2015

I don't believe I can write a review of this book that will do it justice, plus other reviewers have already said many of the things I'd want to say anyway. Right now, I just want to marinate in my own thoughts. Books that make me feel this way afterward are the reason I read.

LibraryAlison Nov 28, 2015

This stellar book gets my highest rating. I wanted to re-read it as soon as I finished, and I was desperate to find other readers to discuss it with. I love the labyrinthine structure of the novel; it brings to mind Jorge Luis Borges' writing. I hope Darnielle will continue writing, because I will pick up whatever he pens.

LPL_CentennialC Nov 23, 2015

Wolf in White Van is not a story for the faint of heart. In this novel, a young man named Sean creates a mail-in role playing game about survival in a fictional world--but someone takes the game into the real world, and Sean has to deal with the consequences. With a non-linear plot and thought-provoking prose, this introspective novel pulls you in deep from the beginning.

While marketed for adults, this novel is also the winner of an Alex Award for adult books that appeal to teens. For both adults & teens, this is a book that stretch your mind and force you to think deeper.

Intricate. Powerful. Truly one of a kind.

Vero_biblio Jul 27, 2015

The jacket blurb of this book promised intriguing storylines involving a role-playing game played through the mail, two teenagers dying trying to play it, and the disfigured man who controls it. I wish it would have been a more traditional piece of storytelling, because I thought these elements would make a really good story! It ended up being a really well-written literary piece instead, but even though I savoured the prose, I'm left wanting to understand the character's motives.

CRRL_CraigG Jun 25, 2015

A haunting portrayal of how we carry the scars of adolescence with us for the rest of our lives, be they emotional or physical.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/wolf_in_white_van_darnielle

Nov 19, 2014

A fever dream. A stare-into-the-fire kind of vision quest. It's that kind of book. And yet the story felt thin. Perhaps because of its slim size. Read more like a novella. Usually I would be excited about a book like this. It has a unique structure: an ending revealed upfront and the story going back in time; a re-telling through a text-based game world evocatively called "Trace Italian." The melancholy burns. It has scorched out all the oxygen in the air.

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