Wolf Season

320 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658306


ISBN: 9781942658313

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“[Benedict] has emerged as one of our most thoughtful and provocative writers of war literature.”

David Abrams, author of Fobbit and Brave Deeds, at the Quivering Pen

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“A novel of love, loss, and survival, Wolf Season delves into the complexities and murk of the after-war with blazing clarity. You will come to treasure these characters for their strengths and foibles alike. Helen Benedict has delivered yet again, and contemporary war literature is much the better for it.”

Matt Gallagher, author of Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War and Youngblood

“Fierce and vivid and full of hope, this story of trauma and resilience, of love and family, of mutual aid and solidarity in the aftermath of a brutal war is nothing short of magic. Helen Benedict is the voice of an American conscience that has all too often been silenced. To read these pages is to be transported to a world beyond hype and propaganda to see the human cost of war up close. This is not a novel that allows you to walk away unchanged.”

Cara Hoffman, author of Be Safe I Love You and Running

“The Iraq War. Disability. Women on and off the battlefield. AND WOLVES! . . . [An] extraordinary new novel.”

Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World, at Carolineleavittville

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“Benedict masterfully summons characters who don’t share her biography: she’s a civilian getting sympathetically, and accurately, inside the minds of soldiers; a Westerner intimately addressing the concerns of Middle Eastern refugees; someone with the vivid power of sight imagining the equally vivid experience of the sightless; an adult bringing child characters to life.”

Jay Baron Nicorvo, author of The Standard Grand, at Literary Hub

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“No one writes with more authority or cool-eyed compassion about the experience of women in war both on and off the battlefield than Helen Benedict. In Wolf Season, she shows us the complicated ways in which the lives of those who serve and those who don’t intertwine and how—regardless of whether you are a soldier, the family of a soldier, or a refugee—the war follows you and your children for generations. Wolf Season is more than a novel for our times; it should be required reading.”

Elissa Schappell, author of Use Me and Blueprints for Building Better Girls

“[Benedict] has such a compassionate and yet clear-eyed understanding of the myriad costs of war. Blew my mind.”

Ayelet Waldman, author of Daughter’s Keeper and Love and Treasure

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Wolf Season is honest about suffering, trauma, and the difficulty of healing after war. . . . [The novel] reminds us that we do what’s best for our family—our pack—even if it’s the thing that hurts the most.”


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“The novel moves between striking passages that speak war’s truth and heartfelt stories about how women—and mothers—experience war and its aftermath. While there are male soldiers in Wolf Season, women’s experience is at the forefront. . . . Told with honesty and empathy, Wolf Season is a contemporary tale about how the war always comes home.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

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“Extraordinary insight and sensitivity . . . offering a unique and multi-dimensional perspective on women as veterans today in the U.S.”


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“Cuts right into the current tenor of American culture, with characters who are haunted by the violence of war.”

Neworld Review

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“Like other great art, Wolf Season . . . show[s] us how deeply moved we can be by lives and experiences that bear little resemblance to our own.”

In the Fray

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“To say Wolf Season is merely a portrait of the war at home . . . would be misleading. Benedict’s ambitions are far more sweeping, for the fears and prejudices that motivate her characters mirror the dilemmas in the ongoing war on terror.”

American Book Review

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“The best way to make moral choices is to understand the experiences of others. And fictional literature like Wolf Season can take us to a heightened level of understanding about the experience of war.”

Michigan Daily

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“Unflinching. . . . In a book that deserves the widest attention, Benedict ‘follows the war home,’ engaging readers with an insightful story right up until the gut-wrenching conclusion.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Affecting. . . . The ‘very long reach of war’ transcends generations.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“Gripping. . . . A low level of dread builds slowly, drawing readers toward the inevitable climactic clash, though Benedict’s memorable and complicated characterization is the true highlight.”

Publishers Weekly

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“Compelling. . . . Benedict doesn’t shy away from her characters’ very different faults as they grasp for courage and resilience during their dark times.”


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“A powerful picture of the limits of compassion and the knee-jerk nature of emotions: prejudice directed against immigrants and the fear of wolves.”


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“[Benedict is] at the top of her game here. . . . The wolves indeed have the last word in Wolf Season, much as do the dogs in David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Benedict’s final chapter is appropriately titled ‘Howl,’ which brings to mind Allen Ginsberg and his poem of the same name—with its line ‘monstrous bombs!’ in canto II. Yet perhaps Ginsberg’s line from one of his other poems, ‘America,’ best sums it all up: ‘America when will we end the human war?’ Helen Benedict’s Wolf Season certainly gives us ample reasons to consider doing so.”

Woven Tale Press

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Wolf Season takes contemporary war-and-mil-writing preoccupation with dogs to its fantastical-yet-logical extension. . . . Rin and Naema are compellingly drawn, as are Rin’s daughter Juney and Naema’s son Tariq and the three wolves, Gray, Silver, and Ebony. Most striking, however, are two male characters, Louis Martin and Todd Wycombe, both veterans struggling to be men worthy of respect.”

Time Now

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“Gives readers a deep sense of what it takes to survive and the terrible toll war and loneliness extracts not only on those who go to war but also those waiting at home.”

North of Oxford

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“Intense, atmospheric, and suspenseful.”

Neshama Franklin, Marin County Free Library (San Rafael, CA)

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After a hurricane devastates a small town in upstate New York, the lives of three women and their young children are irrevocably changed. Rin, an Iraq War veteran, tries to protect her blind daughter and the three wolves under her care. Naema, a widowed doctor who fled Iraq with her wounded son, faces life-threatening injuries. Beth, who is raising a troubled son, waits out her marine husband’s deployment in Afghanistan, equally afraid of him coming home and of him never returning at all. As they struggle to maintain their humanity and find hope, their war-torn lives collide in a way that will affect their entire community.

Firecracker Award Finalist

National Reading Group Month “Great Group Reads” selection

Military Times “Reading Guide” selection

Columbia Magazine “Reading List” selection

Literary Hub “Books Making News” selection

BookBrowse “Editor’s Choice” selection

Wrath-Bearing Tree “Monthly Fiction” selection

Kansas City Public Library/Kansas City Star “FYI Book Club” selection

Marin County Free Library “Reading Suggestions” selection

Excerpt from Wolf Season

Congratulations to Wolf Season, a Firecracker Award Finalist and National Reading Group Month “Great Group Read” selected by the Women’s National Book Association. Find additional resources for the novel—including an interview, excerpt, reviews, discussion questions, and more—at BookBrowse.

Watch Helen Benedict talk about Wolf Season on the WGBH News segment “Bringing War’s Reality Home: Talking Fiction With Writer Helen Benedict.”

Helen Benedict discusses her novel Wolf Season and the challenges of writing about women and war on KPFA’s Bookwaves on Cover to Cover, KMSU’s Weekly Reader Radio Show, and Woodstock Booktalk Radio, and with Publishers Weekly, The CommonStay Thirsty MagazineNeworld ReviewMichigan DailyWest Side SpiritHuffPost, Read Her Like an Open BookSnowflakes in a Blizzard, authors Caroline Leavitt and Katey SchultzPowell’s Books, and the Columbia Journalism School.

The Kansas City Public Library and Kansas City Star have selected Helen Benedict’s novel Wolf Season for the “FYI Book Club.” Join the discussion, read an excerpt from the novel, and find an interview with the author in the Kansas City Star.

Wrath-Bearing Tree, an online magazine established and maintained by combat veterans, has selected Wolf Season for their “Monthly Fiction” feature. Read an excerpt from the novel and an interview with author Helen Benedict.

Helen Benedict talks about war literature with authors David Abrams, Cara Hoffman, Matt Gallagher, and Dalia Sofer in the “Life During Wartime” panel at the Center for Fiction, and with authors Seth Brady Tucker, Jesse Goolsby, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, and Samuel Snoek-Brown in the “Duty and Dilemma: 100 Years of Writing About War” AWP Roundtable.

Helen Benedict shares her recommendations for the “Best Contemporary Iraqi Writing About War” with the Literary Hub, where her novel Wolf Season is also “Making News.”


Helen Benedict discusses issues facing sexual abuse victims with Michel Martin on NPR’s All Things Considered and offers a short list of actionable items “to make #MeToo stick this time” at CNN.