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History of Wolves
by Emily Fridlund


Overview - "So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides "--Aimee Bender

Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world.  Read more...


 
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More About History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
 
 
 
Overview
"So delicately calibrated and precisely beautiful that one might not immediately sense the sledgehammer of pain building inside this book. And I mean that in the best way. What powerful tension and depth this provides "--Aimee Bender

Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong.

And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn't understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do--and fail to do--for the people they love.

Winner of the McGinnis-Ritchie award for its first chapter, Emily Fridlund's propulsive and gorgeously written History of Wolves introduces a new writer of enormous range and talent.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780802125873
  • ISBN-10: 0802125875
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publish Date: January 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

An icy literary thriller

Like many coming-of-age stories, History of Wolves features a grown-up narrator looking back on an event in her teenage years that forever changed her belief in the way the world works. The brilliance of this novel is that the events that ruined Madeline, aka “Linda,” are so appalling that they may change the way the reader believes the world works as well.

The story opens in the middle of a typically punishing Minnesota winter; the superbly talented Fridlund makes you feel the cold in your joints and imagine the sound of a knock on the crust of ice over a snowdrift. Linda lives with her hippie parents in such poverty that they not only lack central heating but a door: Only a tarp stands between them and the cold. 

Then a new family moves into a new house across the lake from Linda: Leo and Patra Gardner and their little boy, Paul. Linda is taken on as Paul’s babysitter. To the perceptive Linda, they are just a shade off normal, which entices her because she’s just a shade off normal herself. But soon the reader, with a skin-crawling dread worthy of any decent slasher movie, begins to realize that something’s more than just not right. You only hope that it’s not what you think it is.

But learning that it’s not what you think it is brings no relief, because what is really going on is ever so much worse. When what happens happens, you want to stop and go back to the beginning of the book to search for the clues you knew had to be there. You’ll find them.

Fridlund earns a place as a top-notch writer with this remarkable, disturbing debut.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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