Wulf Enigma is a beautiful novella that enacts its own theoretical
position(s) about writing. It's
as though John Fowles had become a poet and then written a novella. I don't say this simply because Pannett's poetry appears
within the novella but because of a compact vision that fills the pages.
The writer understands that a novella is not a short novel but its
own medium, one that can work with the compression of poetry against the
dilation of prose. This
novella asks really big questions: what makes an historical novel; how do
we create characters; what is the difference between poetry and prose.
And yet it does so with a lightness of touch and is never less than
entertaining. This is a text
I'll return to and which will continue, I am sure, to give me joy.
Caron Freeborn (author of Georges Perec is
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in the moonlight prowl silently in the shadow lands of this tale.
real and myth, a wolf will gnaw at the edges of man’s imagination for it
is the wilderness itself. Guardian of its own boundaries, it will wait.
are creatures of memory and imagination. Remember that glimpse of someone
or something waiting, beside you, behind you, gone? In just this way,
figures in The Wulf Enigma will step for a moment out of the shadows, tease you
with riddles, clues, questions, leave you with an imprint of themselves
and their times even as they vanish.
WULF ENIGMA, by poet and novelist Mandy Pannett, begins with an anonymous
Saxon poem. The reader might, at the start, expect a modern translation of
it but instead of offering us this translation, either her own or someone
else’s, she gives us a book of intriguing interpretations.
Pannett’s skilfully constructed narrative serves as her
“translation/interpretation” of the poem, weaving together many
elements and including some of her own poetry; we are right beside her as
she writes, often taking a step back from the story in order to comment,
to ask questions or supply historical background and then delving back
into it again.
WULF ENIGMA is an ambitious and accomplished work – fresh, fascinating
and thoroughly enjoyable.
- Pansy Maurer-Alvarez
(author of Oranges in January, In a
Form of Suspension, et al)