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Sister Wolf [Paperback]

Ann Arensberg
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 5 2000
In the picturesque Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, Marit Deym lives alone on a thousand-acre inheritance from her aristocratic Hungarian parents. Though bright and attractive, she is a stranger to the complexities of human relationships. She keeps to herself, venturing out only to defend her one passion: the care of her wild animals--the lynx, bears, fox, and family of wolves for whom she has established a sanctuary on her land.

Then the wolves bring to her door Gabriel Frankman--a thoughtful young teacher at the nearby school for the blind, lost hiking in the woods. Despite his fear of the wild creatures, Gabriel seems oddly calm in their presence. For Marit, too, there is an immediate, consuming connection to the stranger--the first of her life. But it is a dangerous one. Soon her love of Gabriel will bring forth an unspeakable tragedy: to an innocent life, herself, and her precious animals.

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Review

"[A] novel of striking originality . . . If Sister Wolf is intense and otherworldly, it is also crisp, urbane, alive with wit."
--The New York Times Book Review

"EXOTIC AND SUBTLY ABSORBING. ITS COMPLEXITY AND RICHNESS ARE HAUNTING. No summary can convey the unusual power of this book, its originality in voice and tone."
--ANNE RICE
   San Francisco Chronicle

"HIGHLY ORIGINAL, EXTRAVAGANTLY ROMANTIC, INTENSELY IMAGINED, IT'S A STORY . . . THAT LEAVES A DEEP IMPRESSION."
--CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT
   The New York Times

"A POWERFUL, HAUNTING TALE . . . Arensberg maintains the tension with her high-precision prose."
--Newsweek

From the Back Cover


"[A] novel of striking originality . . . If Sister Wolf is intense and otherworldly, it is also crisp, urbane, alive with wit."
--The New York Times Book Review

"EXOTIC AND SUBTLY ABSORBING. ITS COMPLEXITY AND RICHNESS ARE HAUNTING. No summary can convey the unusual power of this book, its originality in voice and tone."
--ANNE RICE
San Francisco Chronicle

"HIGHLY ORIGINAL, EXTRAVAGANTLY ROMANTIC, INTENSELY IMAGINED, IT'S A STORY . . . THAT LEAVES A DEEP IMPRESSION."
--CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT
The New York Times

"A POWERFUL, HAUNTING TALE . . . Arensberg maintains the tension with her high-precision prose."
--Newsweek

Customer Reviews

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2.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the Last Chapter First Jan. 4 2001
Format:Paperback
Although I do not consider this book a wasted read, it is not topping my list of favorites.
I found the storyline very difficult to follow, the characters were not at all engaging, and if the author used the word "Sapphic" one more time I was going to throw the book. However, the final chapter was a page-turner with a engaging plot, and a surprise ending. It also provided insight into the title of the work and salvaged the entire reading experience for me.
My advice would be to skim everything but the last chapter. Read that one with relish.
For anyone interested in a GOOD Ann Arensburg book, I suggest "Incubus", her best work by far.
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3.0 out of 5 stars In defense of a fairly decent book . . . Aug. 14 2000
Format:Paperback
I wouldn't normally have reviewed "Sister Wolf", if I hadn't seen the only other review, which, while probably fairly correct, was a bit more cynical and harsh than I thought was deserved of the book. It's true that the plot is strange, and the characters a little distant and difficult to become attached to. However, the book was well done; Ann Arensburg is quite a good writer, and her prose is simple but sufficient. In the end, "Sister Wolf" seems to be nothing but a story about the difficult love of two people, and the attachment of one woman to her wild animals. However, "Sister Wolf" is saddening but fairly enjoyable, and is a fine light read. It's not a bestsellar, and it's not high on my list, but it's certainly not a novel deserving of the trashcan, and tossing it there without giving it a chance would certainly be a mistake.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not Even Good Plane Reading July 25 2000
Format:Paperback
I bought "Sister Wolf" on the strength of the cover, blurb, and awards it received. I needed something to read on a six hour flight to Dublin.
The book was not engaging. I couldn't feel close to the characters, nor did I find their actions to be motivated by...anything.
This is a dreadful book, and I had to force myself to finish it.
Then, I did what I rarely do: I threw it into the trash.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In defense of a fairly decent book . . . Aug. 13 2000
By that girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I wouldn't normally have reviewed "Sister Wolf", if I hadn't seen the only other review, which, while probably fairly correct, was a bit more cynical and harsh than I thought was deserved of the book. It's true that the plot is strange, and the characters a little distant and difficult to become attached to. However, the book was well done; Ann Arensburg is quite a good writer, and her prose is simple but sufficient. In the end, "Sister Wolf" seems to be nothing but a story about the difficult love of two people, and the attachment of one woman to her wild animals. However, "Sister Wolf" is saddening but fairly enjoyable, and is a fine light read. It's not a bestsellar, and it's not high on my list, but it's certainly not a novel deserving of the trashcan, and tossing it there without giving it a chance would certainly be a mistake.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich and complex raising questions of innocence, guilt, the wild and the civilized, of our care for one another, and much more Feb. 14 2014
By Bill Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a rich and complex short novel of contrasts: of innocence and guilt; of care and revenge; of what most think of as ‘wild’ and what most think of as ‘civilized’; of natives and outsiders and so much more.

Both Marit Deym, second generation Hungarian and inheritor of her family’s estate in the Berkshires and Gabriel Frankman, a teacher at a nearby school of the blind are outsiders and have intentionally set themselves apart from the mainstream of village life; both have assumed responsibilities for the care of the helpless – wild wolves and bears, along with other smaller wild animals and blind children. Both have been celibate for years - that is until one night Gabriel, lost in Marit’s wildlife preserve, is herded by her wolves to her home and her side.

A novel of contrasting relationships SISTER WOLF is a memorable novel that raises questions about our assumptions of others and our care for one another.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the Last Chapter First Jan. 4 2001
By Molly M. Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although I do not consider this book a wasted read, it is not topping my list of favorites.
I found the storyline very difficult to follow, the characters were not at all engaging, and if the author used the word "Sapphic" one more time I was going to throw the book. However, the final chapter was a page-turner with a engaging plot, and a surprise ending. It also provided insight into the title of the work and salvaged the entire reading experience for me.
My advice would be to skim everything but the last chapter. Read that one with relish.
For anyone interested in a GOOD Ann Arensburg book, I suggest "Incubus", her best work by far.
2.0 out of 5 stars Wild? Civilized? Or Just boring? April 7 2014
By MaureenTumenas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

The Berkshires is one of my favorite places and the setting was one reason I picked up the novel. I enjoyed the beginning of the book. The character of Gabriel who seemed to define himself by being subsumed by other characters, identifying his own goodness by allowing the needs of others to overwhelm and define him as a good person, was well crafted. The outline of Marit brings to life a woman who was not defined by other people, but by her devotion to her animals. Combining these two characters never really worked in the novel.

I could not see that Marit or Gabriel had any basic attraction for one another. Perhaps that is why the relationship never worked.

The course of the novel made no sense to me. I would have liked to see further development of Marit as the main character and to have her life and struggles with the sanctuary become the focus.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Feb. 18 2014
By Bella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Actually, somewhat fascinating book. It is not, perhaps as easy to read as is Incubus- but it is an excellent and an unusual story.

I think most of the (negative) reviews are (possibly) colored by the fact that the book is Not horror, not science fiction- not really scary at all. Just grim, sad. So- not what one would expect from the author of incubus. But, from the author of group sex, also a bizarre yet great novel, then yes: the connections are evident.

This is a quirky novel, about complex people- and, yeah- they are all flawed: it's very true to life that way.
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