The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore is one of those novels I've long read about, but have never chanced across a copy of. But the other day I found the first new paperback edition of the 1933 story in about forty years. Having read this compelling horror story, it's been too long a time. This story deserves a place alongside other classics of horror.
|The new edition|
Bertrand Caillet is the name of our protagonist or sorts. He's the illegitimate son of a raped teenager and a defrocked priest born on the inauspicious day of Christmas. We actually the story indirectly by way of his uncle Aymar Galliez who raises Bertrand after a network of complications gives him that responsibility of sorts. Bertrand's depravity is framed against the depraved society found in France at the time (and as is suggested most everywhere) and his crimes are supposed to judged in comparison to other grander crimes committed by those who on the surface at least appear upright.
Unlike the movie The Curse of the Werewolf from Hammer which adapted the story (but changed the setting to Spain) there's some question as to whether Bertrand actually physically changes into a wolf, or wolfman. But there's no denying his crimes, committed in the heat of nightmares and blood compulsions which seem to rule the boy and then the man. This is a novel about depravity and how that changes the world in which it operates, both on a personal level and on a grander more historical stage.
So if you're going to read this novel looking for a shaggy wolfman trotting along the moonlit wooded pathways you're likely to be disappointed. But if you looking for a horror novel that makes you feel, if only for a moment, what a werewolf might feel, this one is highly recommended.