Some novels are likely to be better on a second reading. Novels like Michael Ondaajte’s In the Skin of a Lion, in which style and detail are more central than plot, reward rereadings, and I suspect the same is true of Emma Richler’s strange new novel. An otherwise heartbreaking love story, Be My Wolff keeps the reader at a distance through its style, its interest in scientific fact and in folklore, and its turn always to some story other than the one at hand. While the third-person narration is roving and kaleidoscopic—it jumps quickly into perspectives as divergent as Charles Dickens, Tsar Alexander I and a rat named Rat—there is a sense that the novel is trying to hide from itself. The characters observe each other obsessively, but the real pain of their lives hides from them. It is as though one is witnessing a series of coy psychoanalytic sessions whose deeper meaning the reader is required to...
To read this article, you must buy the issue or have LRC Web Full-Text Access.
If you already have Web Full-Text Access to Literary Review of Canada content, please log in with one of the two options below.
If not, sign up today!
- Not already an LRC subscriber? Subscribe today, and be sure to select either the “DIGITAL” or “PRINT and DIGITAL” option. You’ll then be entitled to read this — and other magazine content from past and current issues — in full! (Note: Web Full-Text Access will take effect the following business day.)
- Already a subscriber to the LRC‘s Print edition, but haven’t yet signed up for Web Full-Text Access? Contact us and we’ll reply right away with instructions on how to upgrade your existing subscription.
Log In Option 1
Log In Option 2
* Subscribers who have chosen to receive both the LRC‘s print and digital editions can find their subscriber number in the address area of any recent printed copy cover, above their name; it is six digits long, immediately following “LRC.”