The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land
CreateSpace, 2014 (book)
Amazon Kindle, 2014 (E-book)
“Whisper fairy stories till they’re real.”—Vashti Bunyan
“. . . hope till hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates”—Shelley
Typically, novels open with quotations that are, in reality, one trick ponies stuck there to generate a semblance of highbrow literary tone via homage. The words chosen may be a little meaningful, apt even, but only by virtue of placement and context (alone, in front of a novel)—they don’t reveal the entire spirit of the work itself. This is not the case here.
The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land is prefaced with two quotations (shown above) — the first one from a British singer who had been, for the most part, forgotten years ago when her first album didn’t sell well; the second from a poet who died, obscurely for the most part, 140 years before the British singer made her seemingly unsalable album. It took a generation for Shelley (for that is the poet) to be “recognized” for his truly gifted work, and roughly the same for Vashti Bunyan’s (for she is the singer) talent to be discovered.
Neither had the slightest hint from the mainstream that their lives’ works would eventually amount to wide critical and capital acclaim (a copy of Bunyan’s 1970 debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, sold on eBay for $2000, a first edition of Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, from which the quote is taken, is on offer for $6000) . . . for to them, “at the time it felt like nothing.”
It is enlightening to keep in mind both the words of the quotations and the facts of the quoters when you read The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land; in this novel there are no red herrings — everything matters.
You may be tempted at first — I know I was, but I resisted — to skip ahead when you begin reading the book because it opens with Sean, the teenaged Tasmania, Australia-based male protagonist, recapping (in some detail) his immediate life: at home, at school, the names of bullies, the names of girls, the things he thinks “of the cop who was the town’s chief criminal, destroying the young minds he should be helping thrive. Of the authoritarian ‘anti-authoritarian’ GLC [Global Learning Center] clique and their sniveling pet lamb Thomas. Of my parents and their sham conservatism.” Thirty pages of this. Even though he states: “I’m not too sure how far to take the story back. Lapsing too far could only lead to tedium, so skipping to the meat of it . . .” it doesn’t quite feel like there’s a lot of meat there. Don’t worry, there is. Keep reading every single sentence—like I said earlier, everything matters, and is indeed going to be served up very nicely later.
Sean’s memoirs are joined, at page 31, by Maddy’s memoirs. Their respective voices will continue to weave in and out, sometimes adding information the other doesn’t have, other times picking up where the other leaves off, to make up the book’s dual voice. “The following recollections, by two members of convicted terrorist outfit ‘The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land’ have been spliced together to form a cohesive narrative.” Sean as the driving force is the protagonist hero, the Aussie Battler, if you will, and Maddy is his fiercely loyal anima—his female archetype, Jungly speaking. It is Sean who rights the wrongs done to her, who champions and values his worthy beloved (“Taking risks for me! I couldn’t bear it if you went to gaol . . . But I knew of course, that if he went to gaol I would still be loyal to him until the day he got out, even if I were old or dead by then”), and Maddy who sticks with him all the way. (“Her kind of loyalty was so rare in this throwaway age that it made my heart melt. At least I would protect her as best I could . . .”).
Maddy’s memoirs are first sadly gritty (but never gratuitous: “I will draw the curtain on the scene now. I’ll spare you the details . . .”) as she recounts her life before she meets Sean—but they nonetheless sparkle with a fast readability that Sean’s more analytical musings miss: “Now I’m starting to sound like Sean, with his long and winding sentences. I like them, to be sure, but they’re not for me!”
It’s somewhere in the pages of Maddy’s section that you realize that you cannot put the book down. Once Maddy meets Sean, the book takes on an irresistible forward moving energy. For what it is worth, review-wise, I read The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land cover to cover in one sitting, and then re-read it the next day. I liked it just as much the second time. Then I lent it out. Twice. The lendees also read it straight through. It is a remarkably compelling story, and a fast read coming in at 140 pages. For all its slim girth though, it holds tremendous staying power.
The story is the tale of idealism “simplistically attacking an entire generation, yet simultaneously appropriating some of that generation’s most revered cultural icons — Tolkien, Hermann Hesse, the Beatles — “in a valiant, pranksteresque effort to “wake the people up from their delusional sleep.”
“We don’t need these types in Tasmania,” Kopf frowned. “We need to move forward as a state, and these horrible reactionary elements are holding us back. Where is the love, I ask you . . . where is the love?”
It was ironic, this globalist idiot calling us reactionaries, and especially so because his last book (The Stolen Dignity of Ulrike Kuhn) had been about a woman falsely accused of terrorism . . . by the media! We vowed that the next target of our prank campaign would be him. . . .
Then there followed on the TV such a string of mentally retarded garbage as I could scarcely begin to describe. It was a real eye-opener for Sean and me, because we didn’t have a television, and neither of us had watched it much when growing up. But the shows of our childhood seemed positively mind-expanding compared to this stream of ads for vapid reality shows and excruciating gossip about airheaded celebrities.
Was this what people really wanted, a string of robotic pop stars bouncing up and down, always on the same spot, like monkeys? Hadn’t the man in the street been hypnotized to desire this, if indeed he ever wanted it at all? It was the only possibility that our inborn optimism could accept.
But now the mass-hypnosis machine had persuaded the public that we were brutish thugs who attacked babies.
Even though this book was just published in April 2014 (on ANZAC Day, appropriately) and so is a brand new addition to the New Right library, I think, without a doubt in my mind, that The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land is worthy of its place on those honored shelves, harkening to or blending with (in general) the “Greek and Roman classics, Norse sagas, philosophy and German novels” and (specifically) Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kurtagić’s Mister, Palahnuik’s Fight Club, any number of Andy Nowicki’s works, Covington’s North West Quintet, various Baader-Meinhof memoirs, Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints and even a little of that haunting sweetness found in the white boy meets white girl traditional-love story with a twist, Twilight.
What’s more, as new as it is, this book is the first book I would lend to someone who wanted to understand the New Right. And the Alternative Right. And the European Right-wing parties. And Traditionalism, Odinists, anti-capitalists, anti-antifas, nationalists of any stripe, culturalists, anti-feminists, anti-PCers, those fed up with the system, those who eschew the hypocritical Zeitgeist of the baby boom generation (also known as ’68ers). Those who want the end of unlimited Third World immigration, the end of a culture held in the sway of a mass media controlling elite, the end of a world where “Law isn’t about justice or very rarely . . . it’s about the smooth maintenance of a system” in a world of “multicult consumer zombies.” Anyone who is questioning the system’s narratives relating to history, to current events and to the “inevitable” future that the system would like to put in place. Anyone on the brink of awakening.
And young people . . .
My 18-year-old thought it was brilliant . . . and approachable.
The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land is approachable because it is written via the voices of young people and it carries a tone of ingénue anguish at what the world has become. It doesn’t expect the reader to know more than the characters, although it expects the reader to intelligently understand the content — which is sometimes subtle (like the preface quotes) and sometimes straightforward — “we shared our belief that Western societies were on a massively wrong course, and that much of the reason for this was a severance from the unconscious, both individual and collective, and from the gods, heroes and symbols of old” — but always pertinent.
Pertinent and quite, and most splendidly, and most wonderfully, contemporary. This is a book about the 20teens. Which we are in the middle of. Lucky us. And because The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land is about our distinct time, our part of the Kali Yuga, it’s all so very current — so very very refreshingly current. It might have been set yesterday, today or even a week from now. And so readers, particularly teenagers and young adults, can relate to the story immediately.
I don’t want to ruin the story, which is short and sharp, so instead I will thumb through the pages of my paperback copy and share some illustrative highlights:
Page 32: “Caspar was a ‘male feminist’ and I once heard him through the wall asking for permission before he made an advance on her. ‘Is it okay if I put my arm around your shoulder, then, maybe, touch your breast?’”
Page 35: “‘My life is hell’ she rasped. Then she screamed violently, spitting in my face: ‘you fucking little cis-privileged bitch.’”
Page 71: “. . . white bread, a monoculture. (A culture in other words, I wryly thought).”
Page 72: “Russell-Smythe rumbled on for a bit longer about her vision for the ‘New Tasmania’. Every ‘cracked voice’ must be a given a place in the choir, it seemed. I wondered idly if my own Black Metal rasp would receive a seat, then realized instinctively that it wouldn’t. What this woman meant was pliable voices . . . I was learning to read between the lines of establishment speech.”
Page 90: “The next day we uploaded our footage to a popular video sharing website. We titled it ‘Prominent leftist Angela Russell-Smythe snaps, makes RACIST HOMOPHOBIC remarks’.
When we checked back a few days after it had over two million views! Beneath were thousands of comments like: ‘Wow! This bitch must really h8 diversity!!!’ ‘Kill this whore NOW pls” and ‘Racist scum like this should be slowly tortured to death . . .’
Shortly afterwards, the video was mysteriously removed from the website . . .”
Page 105: “We were getting ready to leave, and handed two of our last flyers to a couple of young people. One had a t-shirt with the words ‘Born Against’ written on it, the other’s contained a word that was strange to me at the time: ‘Antifa’ followed by ‘Melbourne Chapter.’ They looked energetic and rebellious, so I thought they might prove open to our message. Fucking hell, was I ever wrong!
After they had gone some fifty metres, one of them must have actually read the flyer, because I saw them have an animated discussion, then turn back. They marched right up to Sean, who had handed the flyers to them and screamed right in his face: ‘You fucking Nazi scum!’”
Page 107: “. . . he cut him off saying ‘No, I’m not arguing any more with Nazi white supremacist scum. No free speech for fascists!’
‘No free speech for fascists!’ echoed his friend.”
Page 118: “Then someone published our home address online . . .”
Page 124: “Could there have been anti-Semitism involved (the artist was half-Jewish apparently) making it a hate crime?”
There are some wry satirical moments in the book: a baby named Varg (“It’s a fascist baby!”), modern “art” that gets mistaken for a throwaway fried chicken bucket, as well as ironically applied Beatles references (“I often took mum’s Sgt. Pepper’s CD out and played the song ‘Fixing a Hole’ really loud . . . but she never took the hint. It seemed she preferred “I’m Only Sleeping” from Revolver”).
And there are deep thoughtful passages: “Nature, the universe, hungers for us to give it meaning. But our capacity to do so has become clouded, and that is why a great awakening is required.”
The Hungry Wolves of Van Diemen’s Land ends with the Hungry Wolves inspiring “the Wandervogel-like movement called the Wolves of Joy, springing up around the world . . . the Wolves of Joy are more positive in outlook that we ever were. Their spontaneous acts are not attacks on the present system; instead they are building a new one in its very ruins. They speak the language of the birds, and so the authorities hate them, regardless of their approach . . . but how quickly they are spreading!” even while Sean laments “Our rebellion was over, and what had it achieved? At the time it felt like nothing . . .”
Perhaps it was nothing. Perhaps not. What we must do now is whisper fairy stories of the Wolves of Joy and hope until our hope creates the thing we contemplate. The wheel turns to the end and back again, in this book and in the great quests and ages of our world.
Pay attention. Whisper. Hope.
RIP Blake Lucca & Cameron Padgett
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