A dark, surreal adventure follows Myron, in the company of animal shape-shifters, as he seeks his true identity.
Myron, a ninth-grader who appears to be about 8 years old, is “short, scrawny, and hideous.” Found, apparently abandoned and terribly disfigured, and adopted five years before, he has been the victim of relentless bullying. In the wake of a mammoth fight, he finds himself effectively kidnapped by human/animal shape-shifters called lycanthropes. He quickly discovers that he, too, is a lycanthrope, but no one, not even Myron, knows his true form. In this doom-laden tale it’s impossible to tell friend from foe. As Myron stumbles from one misadventure to another and witnesses numerous deaths, he encounters the few remaining lycanthropes in existence, and the lying, scheming lot of them want to use or kill him. He’s misguided by, among others, a gorilla, spends the winter in the woods with a moose mentor and is held prisoner in the Fortress of Id. Ultimately, Myron’s charged with transporting a “doomsday device,” and his goal becomes reaching the Rosicrucians in hopes of learning his purpose and animal identity. The tale is not for the faint of heart: There are scenes of torture and a reference to sexual excitement induced by violence. Drenched in nihilism, the story’s message, as voiced by the archly intrusive narrator (and one of the lycanthropes), is, “once you remove the possibility of being a good or bad individual, life becomes a series of meaningless incidents.”
This quixotic, uber-intellectual debut, laced with literary and historical references, has some comedic elements, but is, perhaps, too smart for its own good. (Fantasy. 14 & up)