W(h)ere There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way

Lupine Masculinities in Mongrels and Where the Dead Sit Talking


  • John Gamber University of California, Irvine




This essay places the lyconthropic representations in Stephen Graham Jones’ (Blackfeet) Mongrels (2016) in conversation with those (and the more broadly lupine) in Brandon Hobson’s (Cherokee) novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking (2018). Both novels wield their lupine imagery (of werewolves and wolves) as devices to interrogate the tensions and overlaps between a series of dichotomies triangulated through their respective constructions of masculinity, notably: the (masculine) wild and the (feminine) domestic; solitude and community; and motion and stasis. Ultimately, WDST puts forth a protagonist who is more ambivalent to the (feminized) domestic sphere and who cultivates various feminine elements of himself, while generally opting out of the social elements of community. Mongrels, however, offers a protagonist who initially denies his responsibilities to community, which he sees as antithetical to the masculine wolf he longs to be, and, rather, akin to the feminine human he maligns.


Author Biography

John Gamber, University of California, Irvine

JOHN GAMBER, is Associate Professor at UC Irvine. His research interests include ecocriticism, American Indian, Asian American, African American, and Chicana/o and Latina/o literatures. His book Positive Pollutions and Cultural Toxins (University of Nebraska Press, 2012), examines the role of waste and contamination in late-twentieth century U.S. ethnic and indigenous literatures. He has co-edited Transnational Asian American Literature: Sites and Transits, and published articles about the works of Gerald Vizenor, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Craig Womack, among others in several edited collections and journals including PMLA, and MELUS.




How to Cite

Gamber, J. (2023). W(h)ere There’s a Wolf, There’s a Way: Lupine Masculinities in Mongrels and Where the Dead Sit Talking. Transmotion, 8(2), 62–94. https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/03/tm.1085