Every Wolf's Howl

Every Wolf’s Howl

by Barry Grills

October 2012
5.5 x 8.5 paper 240 pages
978-1-55481-105-2
CDN $21.95 | US $21.95

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This is the story of Barry and Lupus. Barry, an exhausted newspaper owner physically and economically on the ropes, meets Lupus, a wolf-German Shepherd cross, at an animal shelter. Despite a nagging belief that he cannot take responsibility for anything or anyone else, Barry rescues Lupus and takes him home.

Every Wolf’s Howl recounts their incredible three-year journey together, back and forth across the country, enduring poverty, heartache, and illness. Beginning at the tail end of Barry and Lupus’s story and looping back in time, this memoir presents a moving portrait of economic struggle and an intimate glimpse into an extraordinary friendship. Lupus’s inner wolf never completely submits to domestication: he heels only when he chooses to. Barry witnesses something determinedly natural, untamed, and fierce within Lupus. Something admirable. Something he can learn from.

Every Wolf’s Howl is more than the story of a man and his dog; it is a poignant, exuberant, exhilarating journey from failure to freedom, one that celebrates the human need for wildness and the courage to live an authentic life.” —Merilyn Simonds

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Reviews and Interviews

“Whether read as a story about the transformative power of the animals with whom we share our lives, or as one man’s stumbling journey towards wholeness, this is a wonderful read. . . . [Grills] demonstrated the ultimate futility in letting other people’s ideas about how life is to be lived restrict our own path.” — Haliburton Echo

Every Wolf’s Howl, [Grills’] memoir of a time when he lost everything but gained an unlikely friend, is told against a backdrop of big issues: keeping one’s pride in the face of poverty, creating a way to live in civilized society, and what can be learned from expected sources.” — Prairie Fire Review of Books

Every Wolf’s Howl departs from the typical tear-jerk structure of man-and-dog memoir by presenting us with the inevitable up front. “Lupus is dead,” Grills writes in the first chapter. “Unquestionably, unequivocally, definitely, undeniably … a long list of adverbs, each one finite, each one connoting a state beyond the limitations of my futile grasp.” What could be a standard narrative becomes instead an innovative story told backward, a memoir that defies the cheap trick of provoking a reader’s investment only to give us death in the final act. In removing this hackneyed device entirely, Every Wolf’s Howl proves a successful literary endeavour: it makes room for the broader themes of human struggle and triumph over loss, and testifies to our capacity to find solace in those we initially feel unequipped to care for.” — Quill and Quire

Awesome Canadian Literature in Our Own Backyard, Part I,” Calgary is Awesome, November 15, 2012.

Every Wolf’s Howl is a moving story of friendship and transformation, and anyone who has ever longed to companionate with wild creatures will be transfixed… Grills’ descriptions of his poverty are sharp and his anger is palpable, yet during these difficult days he continues to observe Lupus who ‘seems to know an essential truth about living.’ ‘I catch glimpses of this knowledge in his speed and curiosity, his sense of adventure, his talent for pure being… He enjoys an adventure in his days and a basic acceptance of himself that I can hardly fathom in mine.'” —Winnipeg Free Press

“His memoir takes us farther and with Lupus’ help deeper into the meaning of his crise du coeur, such that at book’s end we can reverse the process and gauge just how far he has travelled, from self-destructive behaviour, from pessimism, and from serious illness, to existential acceptance of himself and his species.” —The Winnipeg Review