Sharp Teeth – werewolves and gangsters

Posted by Glennis Byron on February 09, 2011 in News tagged with ,

So get this straight it’s not the full moon.
That’s as ancient and ignorant as any myth.
The blood just quickens with a thought
a discipline develops
so that one can self-ignite
reshaping form, becoming something rather more canine still conscious, a little hungrier.

(Toby Barlow, Sharp Teeth)

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) is currently in the process of adapting Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth (2007) for the screen.

Sharp Teeth is a novel in free verse and according to Beaufoy,

a very extraordinary mix of gangland Los Angeles – Compton, the Watts Towers areas. Really, really rough – a lot of shootings. And the difference with this particular piece of work is that these gangs at will can shape-shift into packs of dogs… it’s a police procedural mixed with a werewolf film. If you get it wrong, it’s a disaster. If you get it right, it’ll be extraordinary.

While the book sounds somewhat strange, the reviews were very positive. The Independent, for example, said: ‘A novel in verse – about werewolves. Hmm. It’s a great elevator pitch, but would anyone actually want to read it? Well, they ought to.’

Barlow seems to be playing some interesting games with his werewolf narrative. His epigraphs, for example, include  every quote you can think of that might hint at werewolves: Frost, ‘Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat’; Rhys, ‘A room is, after all, a place where you hide from the wolves’; Chinese proverb, ‘You can’t own something unless you can swallow it’.

Not sure about the film, but the book sounds worth a look. Anyone read it?

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