I’m not sure what I expected from Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. The summary on the jacket says that Sean, who is horribly disfigured by an accident, makes a text based role-playing game for others to play. He is reclusive because of his disfigurement so the game is how he makes money. However, a couple of kids take the game a little too far and take the game into the real world. This causes problems for them and for Sean.
Saying anything else would ruin some of the mystery, but the game and the kids aren’t the driving force of the novel. I was hoping for something more about the game or some details about exactly what the kids did. These details are vague at best. Since the novel is told from Sean’s point of view and the writing style is sort of stream-of-consciousness we learn a lot about him. However, the driving force of the novel is something a bit deeper than any character. I think that it is a difficult novel to get into if you’re looking for a conventional narrative. From what I could tell it appears that the novel is questioning the influence the media has on violent acts. This question is woven beneath Sean’s story.
This novel is difficult for me to review. The writing is quite good, Sean is well developed, and the topic is interesting to explore. I wouldn’t say that I particularly loved the novel, but I appreciate what it is and it is thought provoking.