You’ve got to admire Martin Millar‘s creative powers. He can spin a tall tale with the best of them, and leave you hiccuping with laughter and smiling ruefully in recognition. Millar is the creative genius who brought us the irreverent and hilarious Good Fairies of New York. His second book to be publishing in the US, Lonely Werewolf Girl is about a confused young werewolf overwhelmed by the pressures of life, who gets taken under the wings of two well-meaning, but very naive students. One is an obsessive record collector, the other a romantic, new age Goth. Both are blissfully unaware that their exotic new friend is under sentence of death from her werewolf family, and that the werewolf world is just about to be torn apart by civil war.
As usual, Millar’s focus is on the outsiders, the uncool, and the clueless. His werewolves have flaws, vices and addictions, and they’re all the more human because of them. On the one hand, Lonely Werewolf Girl concerns a feud between two brothers, the heirs to the Thane of the werewolves. On the other, it’s a book about family, about fractured, flawed people trying to find their place in the world and most often finding that the obstacles they must overcome are the expectations, theirs and others’, of what they should do or be. Happily, Millar is well aware that laughter is the best medicine, and he ensures that his books are above all fast, funny romps populated by vivid characters.
Lonely Werewolf Girl is just as offbeat and wonderful as Good Fairies, and displays a sympathy and understanding for outsiders, the lost and the lonely that reminds us that seriousness and sobriety are often the enemies of great writing. Fans of Terry Pratchett take note, the heir is at hand.
An excerpt from this review appeared in the Book Sense Spring – Summer 2008 Reading Group Picks list.