Brendan Wolf A Novel

Brian Malloy

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

304 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy

Who is Brendan Wolf? It all depends on who you ask. To the staff of a Minneapolis nursing home, he's the devoted partner of a much older man who's recently suffered a debilitating stroke. To the women of a conservative, Christian pro-life organization, he's the tireless volunteer grieving over the recent loss of his wife and their unborn child. To one gay activist, he's the unaffectedly charming, yet directionless and unemployed, man who he's fallen hopelessly in love with.

To all of these people—and yet none of them—Brendan Wolf is an ambivalent lover, reluctant conspirator, counterfeit Christian, and, most of all, an unemployed daydreamer obsessed with a dead man.


Praise for Brendan Wolf

"Malloy masterfully blends the page-turning plot and brooding atmosphere of neo-noir with an affecting sensitivity to the stuggle for human connection."—OUT

"Malloy's prose has a meticulous sheen that bears comparison to such careful crafters as David Leavitt and Mary Gaitskill."—Lambda Book Report

"Much like his previous novel, this one unveils a dark and complex story with heart-breaking characters. His novels are very honest and real, always highlighting the complexities of human relationships and self-exploration."—The Rake

"As is true of Patricia Highsmith's wonderful novels, just when you think you know where Brian Malloy's Brendan Wolf is going, its plot goes somewhere else. I can't remember the last time I read a book with so much genuine (but unsentimental) sadness and so much genuine surprise. At this story's core is a man who is in a slipstream of identities and has always found it impossible to be himself. This is a great recipe for trouble, and I read the last few chapters of this fine novel too quickly for my own good. A superb work of a wonderful writer."—Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

"Brendan Wolf manages to be both hilarious and desperate, a book that is as complicated as its wily, winning protagonist. Brian Malloy has created an amazing character in Brendan, an ordinary man doing his best to keep hoping for better. I read Brendan Wolf in two days, and now I'm going to go read it again."—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Sleep Toward Heaven

"A wonderful novel. Brian Malloy begins with a gritty situation worthy of a great noir thriller, then adds real people, real emotions, and real issues, and keeps adding more until his book becomes a very rich, large-scaled portrait of contemporary American life. Best of all, he gives us a complex protagonist who is sadly human, oddly likable, and excitingly unpredictable."—Christopher Bram, author of Father of Frankenstein

"Twisted, strange, awesome and wise, Brendan Wolf redeemed my faith that a literary book could be exciting for its content as well as its words. This is a gritty, real, unbelievably bold novel that will break your heart and leave you haunted by its entirely original characters."—Lisa Tucker, author of The Song Reader

"Unflichingly smart, surprising and shattering both, and written in prose as clean and clear as a mountain stream, Brendan Wolf is nothing short of brilliant."—Caroline Leavitt, author of Coming Back to Me and Girls in Trouble

"A hard-luck Minneapolis guy hits the skids in a major way in Malloy's ambitious second novel. Brendan Wolf, a gay 35-year-old perennial menial employee, can't cover rent and food on $7 an hour. His brother, Ian—in prison for fraud—directs him to Marv, a wealthy, withering elderly gay man. (Ian just met Marv's most recent houseboy in prison.) Though Brendan's plan is to trade housework for room and board, Marv has other transactions in mind. The setup isn't ideal, but Brendan tries to make it work as Cynthia, his sister-in-law, recruits him to play a major role in a plot to steal the proceeds of a pro-life march. The heist sounds surefire, but, sure enough, Brendan soon finds himself embroiled in a disaster that unfolds like a nightmare . . . Malloy's stripped-down prose makes for quick and immersive reading; an interesting spin on classic noir."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Brian Malloy

  • Brian Malloy is the author of the award-winning novel The Year of Ice and Twelve Long Months. Originally from Philadelphia, he lives in Minneapolis and teaches fiction writing at Emerson College in Boston.