Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

In the Shape of a Boar

by Lawrence Norfolk

“One of the year’s most imaginative and challenging novels.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 336
  • Publication Date January 25, 2003
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3967-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.00

About The Book

Lawrence Norfolk’s award-winning novels Lempri’re’s Dictionary and The Pope’s Rhinoceros have won international acclaim. Now Norfolk returns with In the Shape of a Boar, his most ambitious book yet. Beginning in ancient Greece, a dark tale of treachery and destructive love unfolds amid the hunt for the Boar of Kalydon–a tale that will reverberate in those same hills across the millennia in the final chaotic months of World War II, as a band of Greek partisans pursues an S.S. officer on a mission of vengeance. After the war, a young Jewish Romanian refugee, Solomon Memel, who was among the hunters, creates a poem based on the experience, which becomes an international literary sensation. But the truth of what happened in the hills of Kalydon in 1945 is more complicated, and as the older Sol reunites with his childhood love in 1970s Paris, the dark memories and horrors of those days emerge anew.

Tags Literary


“[B]rilliant and exhaustively researched . . . In the Shape of a Boar is a Herculean task accomplished with bravado and style, but more than that, it’s storytelling of the highest echelon.” –Andrew Ervin, The Hartford Courant

“Wonderfully complex . . . What starts as a clear harmonic statement is recast into the dense twentieth-century polyphonies of Borges, Nabokov, and Eco, a fascinating story built from layered narrative lines. . . . Norfolk is trying to get at a big subject: the mercurial and shifting relationship of authentic experience to its representation.” –Reamy Jansen, The Washington Post Book World

“Ambitious . . . impressive . . . dazzling. . . . Rewarding? As only the most world-tackling fiction can be. Norfolk can palm an entire era in a single devastating image.” –David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle

“Throughout, the book maintains a confidence and poetic cadence that pushes it forward, giving gravity to every event. . . . Norfolk’s new work is a challenging and exhilarating read, matching his first two novels . . . in intellectual reach, and surpassing them in storytelling passion and intensity.

” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“One of the year’s most imaginative and challenging novels.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With this novel [Norfolk] has produced a forceful and impressive work.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“Ambitious, intelligent, innovative, erudite, elegant, witty, lyrical, and serious: it is a triumph for Lawrence Norfolk and a powerful reassertion of the important role of fiction in facing the hideous twentieth-century events that haunt all of our lives.” –The Times (London)

“Telling prose of hypnotic sensory immediacy . . . Fiercely brilliant, sustained displays of virtuoso writing.” –The Guardian

“An immensely ambitious novel, one which makes most contemporary English fiction look like a game of Scrabble.” –The Spectator

“Enthralling . . . Lawrence Norfolk has constructed a seductive tale out of shadowy uncertainties.” –The Times Literary Supplement

“A wonderful achievement, as intellectually provocative as it is gripping to read, and it confirms Norfolk’s reputation not only as one of the most exciting novelists around, but also as a writer unafraid to evolve.” –The Literary Review

“Lawrence Norfolk is just about ahead of everyone in his generation of English novelists.” –The Observer (London)