Rules for Werewolves

In the tradition of Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, a visionary debut novel about shelter, escape, family, violence, and dumpster-diving

It’s the story of a restless group of young squatters. They’ve run away from their families and their pasts, questing after knowledge of their most wild selves, roaming the half-empty suburbs of America, occupying the homes of the foreclosed or vacationing, never staying in one place long enough to attract attention, while shoplifting beer at the local Speedy Stop. They’re building a new society with new laws, and no one will stand in their way.

But utopias are hard work, and as Rules for Werewolves unfolds, these young revolutionaries discover that it’s much easier to break laws than to enforce them. Narrated in the shifting perspectives of the pack, Rules for Werewolves follows a community of drifters on the move, who seek a life in a wilderness that, by definition, has no room for them, and a freedom for which they may not be entirely prepared.

Kirk Lynn’s debut novel is a hilarious and deeply moving story of people trying—and failing—to create a new life. At once a fractured fairy tale and a haunting vision of American disaffection, Rules for Werewolves marks the arrival of a fierce new talent.

KIRK LYNN is one of six coproducing artistic directors of Rude Mechanicals theater collective. He is the head of the Playwriting and Directing Area in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, and received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. Lynn lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, the poet Carrie Fountain, and their children.

“Kirk Lynn finally treats the world to his first prose novel – and it’s one hell of a fine work.”
Austin Chronicle

“Austin playwright Lynn makes his fiction debut with a novel, told entirely in dialogue, about a group of teenage squatters who have convinced themselves they’re revolutionaries. The book combines humor, horror, pop culture references, and a healthy dose of satire.”
Men’s Journal, The 7 Best Books of October

“Funny, dark, weird and addictive . . . A unique, engaging way to tell a story and a fresh way of looking at American culture, youth and class.”
LitHub, The Great Booksellers Fall Preview

“Lynn’s compelling debut novel is a parable about loneliness, violence, and modern malaise. It is one of the first post-recession, post–housing crisis American novels of truly alienated youth and suburban fear.”
Publishers Weekly

“Lynn is strongest when he illuminates the urge to break free from convention in the face of threats… An offbeat glimpse into how resistance to conformity breeds its own kind of conformity.”
Kirkus Reviews

“You get caught up with these people. You take sides. And then Kirk Lynn confounds your expectations at every turn.”
Greil Marcus

“Novels are supposed to give you pleasure. So many don’t. But Rules for Werewolves does, in a big-time way. This is a brilliant first novel by the playwright Kirk Lynn and it soars. It’s quirky, innovative, hilarious and menacing. Every chapter has a nice little crunch to it and a bit of astonishment. How he pulled this off I have no idea; it’s a true high-wire act.”
James Magnuson, author of Famous Writers I Have Known

“Kirk Lynn has a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and a sixth sense for finding the exact point at which absurdity mutates into heartbreak—or vice versa. Rules for Werewolves is a dark, delirious, innovative riot of a novel; a grand blast of chaos across the front lawns of America, and a truly outstanding debut.”
Justin Taylor, author of Flings and The Gospel of Anarchy