History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
A Novel

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Fridlund has elegantly crafted a striking protagonist whose dark leanings cap off the tragedy at the heart of this book, which is moving and disturbing, and which will stay with the reader.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

“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.
 

About Emily Fridlund

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Emily Fridlund grew up in Minnesota and currently resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Her fiction has appeared in a variety of journals, including Boston Review, Zyzzyva, Five Chapters, New Orleans Review, Sou’wester, New Delta Review, Chariton Review, The Portland Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. She holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Fridlund’s collection of stories, Catapult, was a finalist for the Noemi Book Award for Fiction and the Tartts First Fiction Award. It won the Mary McCarthy Prize and will be published by Sarabande in 2017. The opening chapter of History of Wolves was published in Southwest Review and won the 2013 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Fiction.
 
Published January 3, 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for History of Wolves
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jun 23 2017

Fridlund has elegantly crafted a striking protagonist whose dark leanings cap off the tragedy at the heart of this book, which is moving and disturbing, and which will stay with the reader.

Read Full Review of History of Wolves: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jan 03 2017

History of Wolves is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.

Read Full Review of History of Wolves: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Geye on Jan 06 2017

The book also can’t quite decide whether it’s a literary novel or a thriller, and so in a sense fails at being either...All of which is unfortunate, as this novel has so much else to offer, not the least a tragedy of Shakespearean scope.

Read Full Review of History of Wolves: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Jan 04 2017

They were provocative, startling. Only as the book winds down do they reappear, but it’s disorienting, strained. It turns out that there’s a parallel between Patra’s story and Mr. Grierson’s...But Ms. Fridlund has to guide her readers to these realizations on a leash.

Read Full Review of History of Wolves: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Terra Arnone on Jan 04 2017

Supple fiction formed in able hands, History of Wolves delivers Emily Fridlund to the doorstep of literature’s beau monde; I think she’ll find a good home there.

Read Full Review of History of Wolves: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for History of Wolves
62%

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