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History of Wolves (Grove Atlantic)
History of Wolves is the story of fourteen-year- old Linda, who lives with her parents in an abandoned commune in the icy woods of Northern Minnesota. Isolated at home and at school, Linda finds unusual company in her beautiful classmate, Lily, and her charismatic History teacher, Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is accused of possessing child pornography, Linda’s world shifts dramatically. Things seem to look up when the Gardner family moves in across the lake. Linda is welcomed into their home as their son, Paul’s, babysitter. However, this sense of belonging, and her newfound feelings of purpose come at an unexpected price—Linda is drawn into secrets that she doesn’t understand and is eventually forced to make decisions that will affect her entire life.
Praise for History of Wolves
“[A] stellar debut . . . A sense of foreboding subtly permeates the story . . . [the] wordsmithing is fantastic, rife with vivid turns of phrase. 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 (starred boxed review)
“An atmospheric, near-gothic coming-of-age novel turns on the dance between predator and prey . . . Fridlund is an assured writer . . . The novel has a tinge of fairy tale, wavering on the blur between good and evil, thought and action. But the sharp consequences for its characters make it singe and sing—a literary tour de force.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The writing is beautiful . . . a triumph of tone and attitude. Lovers of character-driven literary fiction will embrace this.”—Booklist (starred review)
“First thing you see is the bracing intelligence of the book’s young narrator – no big-eyed sentiments for Linda, raised amid blighted ideals in the ceaseless winters and vast swamps of northern Minnesota. So observant is Linda that you trust her instantly, but it’s her own search for trust, for connection even at enormous cost, that will hold you to the final hour. Emily Fridlund’s language is generous and precise, her story grief-tempered and forcefully moving. History of Wolves is the loneliest thing I’ve read in years, and it’s gorgeous. These are haunted pages.” —Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River
“As exquisite a first novel as I’ve ever encountered. Poetic, complex, and utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful.”—T. C. Boyle
“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! I’m so excited for readers to encounter the talent and roiling intelligence of Emily Fridlund.”—Aimee Bender
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, FiveChapters, New Orleans Review, Sou'wester, New Delta Review, Chariton Review, Portland Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. The opening chapter of History Wolves won the 2013 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for fiction, and Fridlund's collection of stories, Catapult, won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and will be published by Sarabande in the fall of 2017.
Photo by Doug Knutson