Cover image for Dream of the wolf
Dream of the wolf
Bradfield, Scott.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1990.
Physical Description:
239 pages ; 22 cm
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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Bradfield's first novel, The History of Luminous Motion [BKL Jl 89], is an eerie and preternatural tale of a seven-year-old boy who kills people. Murder occupies Bradfield again in this unsettling collection of short stories. In "The Darling," a woman calmly kills the men in her life, while in "Sweet Ladies, Good Night, Good Night," a man kills a rival. These are premeditated murders, committed in a blandly psychotic manner. Bradfield's characters are hypnotized by their inner conflicts between primitive, animalistic forces and the resilient desire for the normal things in life--love and money. Bradfield's metaphysic is a mix of existentialism and National Enquirer stories, while his prose fascinates like a snake--sinuous and still, until it strikes. ~--Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

``I don't think you can ever get to know me really well unless you understand I happen to be a very mind-oriented sort of person,'' proclaims a character in one of 13 stories collected here. The life of the mind, a rather moribund life played out in Southern California, is the book's general province. And while the bizarre predicaments of characters suggest a wayward mission to rewrite Kafka, Bradfield ( The History of Luminous Motion ) is no Kafka: the idiosyncratic ratiocinations of his people don't indicate a serious contest between Man and Fate, and since his way with physical description is impatient and jaundiced (his idea of supplying local color is to rattle off brand names), our attention frequently struggles in a vacuum. In the title story, a man dreams that he is one of various subspecies of wolf, alienating family, boss and the reader; neither mainstream nor fringe therapists provide a cure. ``Dazzle,'' an episode from the life of a down-at-the-heels intellectual who happens to be a dog, is the most graceful and appealing (if somewhat fey) offering. Other stories are populated by a limited stock of types: sophomoric husbands, well-meaning wives, and earnest but vapid cultists and psychological derelicts of both sexes. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

California Gothic? Bradfield's West Coast characters are the misfits usually found in Southern Gothic. These Californians, however, are plagued with startling new obsessions. While some of them are simply out of step with humanity, others have completely lost their footing in reality. The stories are unsettling because Bradfield is such a fine writer that he makes even the most perverse character seem plausible. One recurrent theme is that as some of these bizarre people become more ``normal,'' they become less happy. Sometimes, though, the themes are so abstruse that the stories seem pointless. Bradfield is talented, but no middle ground will be found here; the reader will either adore his every word or quit reading midway through the second story.-- Dorothy Golden, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.