Book Review: Wild Dog by Serge Joncour

Wild Dog
by Serge Joncour, Jane Aitken (Translation), Polly Mackintosh (Translation)

Publication date: April 2nd 2020
Publisher: Gallic Books
Pages: 352


When you’re confronted with a wolf, you have to think like a wolf…

Franck and Lise, a French couple in the film industry, rent a cottage in the quiet hills of the French Lot to get away from the stresses of modern life.

In this remote corner of the world, there is no phone signal. A mysterious dog emerges, looking for a new master. Ghosts of a dark past run wild in these hills, where a German lion tamer took refuge in the First World War…

Franck and Lise are confronted with nature at its most brutal. And they are about to discover that man and beast have more in common than they think.

Source: Goodreads


“Wild Dog” is a such a unique story that I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything like this before. Translated from French, this story is told in two time frames, alternating between 1914 and 2017.

In 1914, a small French village is facing the impact of WW1 when all the men and animals were recruited to fight and work for their country. As would have been the case across the country, the women and children were left behind to pick up the pieces. At the same time, a German lion tamer has taken refuge in the surrounding hills.

In 2017, Lise has convinced her husband Franck to take a three week holiday to a remote house in the French hills. Franck is extremely reluctant to go, not only because the owners suspiciously take several days to respond to any messages they send, but also because this place is so remote that it promises absolutely no phone signal or Wi-Fi connection.

As these stories play out, connections between the two become apparent.

The thing I liked the most about this story was the descriptions of the surroundings. The writing was extremely descriptive and it was easy to imagine what the area looked like, especially the steep, unpaved climb to the house. The story was well structured too and I enjoyed reading about WW1 from a different perspective. I’ve not read a lot of books set in France either, and any that I have read are usually set in the capital, so this was a plus for me too. I feel that as well as enjoying the story, I’ve learned a little as well.

At times this story is dark and eerie and it’s a little haunting at points too. I did find that I lost a bit of my interest in the middle and the story was a little long for my tastes but in general I have to say that enjoyed this read.

Overall rating: “Wild Dog” is a unique and interesting story about switching off and going back into nature. I’m rating this book 4 stars and I’d definitely recommend checking it out once published next week.

Thank you to Gallic Books for sending me a pre-release copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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