He has employed the fantastic — in his earlier book “I, Lucifer” the devil is transformed into a human for a month — to explore these themes, but perhaps never more so than with his latest work.
The Last Werewolf stars Jake Marlowe, a 200-year-old, suicidal werewolf who is exhausted by life and also believes he is the last of his species.
Duncan spoke about his new book and the pressure to write a commercially successful novel.
Q: How did you develop this idea?
A: “I had written seven novels before this, all of which were well received, but read by not enough people and they didn’t win a prize. So I had a conversation with my agent when it came around to writing novel number eight . . . I decided to write a straight commercial genre novel. The idea was for a plot-driven narrative, no philosophy, no existential angst, no moral inquiry, no meta-fictional conceits. It was immediately apparent that it was a perfect vehicle for writing about the things I’ve always been writing about: love and sex and death and morality and cruelty and compassion.”
Q: Jake and Talulla are ruthlessly violent, yet sympathetic, characters. Was it difficult striking that balance?
A: “The balance of mordant humor with serious moral inquiry and acts of grotesque violence, yes, I suppose that was difficult. And with these things the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You’re never quite sure whether it’s right until the whole thing’s done. —Reuters.