The first reviews of Cry Wolf have appeared. That’s the novel, an anti-immigration parable, by Paul Lake, the poetry editor of First Things . Paul and I don’t quite see eye-to-eye on all these issues, but there’s no denying he’s written a fun, fast, and powerful read on the topic. It’s a “fable more polished than Orwell’s anti-Communist satire,” Booklist declares.

The American Spectator adds:

Like Animal Farm , this is the tale of a farm run by animals. But the story of Cry Wolf begins with a very different situation to that of Orwell’s spiritually corrupt and terror-ruled post-Revolutionary Communist order. This is an American, or at any rate Western, animal farm, Green Pastures, which the animals inherited peacefully when the old human owner died . . . . To keep the farm running has been a difficult achievement and there is some hardship and economic inefficiency, but they have managed.

They know that they live far longer and better lives than the wild creatures outside. Although The Wild lurks beyond the farm’s borders, with cougars, foxes, wolves and, worst of all, bears, the farm animals, even defenseless sheep and small birds like ducks and hens, can live in security. The dogs and the large, powerful animals like bulls and stallions guard the borders.

Slowly, and for very good reasons, the rule of keeping out wild animals in modified. As in Animal Farm there is an inevitability about the process and at no single point does it seem reasonable (or, at length, possible) to make a stand against it.

And Catherine Savage Brosman writes, “Great satirists, from the ancients to Swift, Voltaire, and Anatole France, have favored broad strokes of the pen; satiric effectiveness comes from combining the ingenious with the obvious. The inner logic of Cry Wolf is just right. Cleverly devised and well developed, its animal equivalents of certain human institutions and behavior provide a pointed, often wry, but ultimately grim allegory of Western nations in recent decades.”

Cry Wolf is clearly a novel that demands attention—and all our readers should rush to get a copy.

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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