History of Wolves

History of Wolves

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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""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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Atlantic Monthly Press,, 2017
ISBN: 9780802189776
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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l
llwboston
Jun 12, 2018

Maybe I've read too many "rural women in peril"* novels recently, but this one just didn't grab me. I found nothing particularly interesting about the narrator Linda or most of the other characters. I kept waiting for the back story of the failed commune to bear fruit, but that went nowhere. Same with Lily, by far the most interesting character in the book. Despite learning about the looming tragedy early in the book, I kept reading in the hope there would be a twist or a development that would pull the different threads together, only to be disappointed. I will say that the author has a poetic gift for writing about nature and our relationship to it.

*(Much better, IMO: "Idaho" by Emily Ruskovich and "The Marsh King's Daughter" by Karen Dione).

s
scribby
Jun 11, 2018

This would seem to be a YA novel, but it is not. The narrator looks back on her teenage years, sometimes in fragments mixed with recollections of other periods in her later life, and tells of a tragedy that slowly unfolds -- in direct, explicit terms and sometimes with crude language. As if in deliberate contrast to this, the prose and storytelling are as beautiful and seemingly natural as the snow on the trees and lakes of the Minnesota backwoods setting. The narrative is sometimes (deliberately) confused, lost in a fog of memory, and the characters are enigmatic but drawn in detail, as is the religion that becomes the "villain" in the story. This is a haunting (and sometimes shockingly honest) "history".

smc_1 Feb 17, 2018

Atmospheric, bleak, beautifully-written read - with an unpredictable, looming sense of dread. About isolation, belonging, family and coming-of-age. Grab a cozy blanket, a mug of something warm and indulge!

m
MamaLovesBooks
Nov 29, 2017

This is a haunting book - recommended if you are looking for something serious and disturbing. It was easy to feel lonely, sad, and confused all at the same time while reading it. I picked up this book knowing nothing about the plot - I thought it would be about someone who lives in the woods with wolves (this book has nothing to do with wolves). I didn't see it heading the direction it did (I try to avoid books with kids dying in them). It is beautifully written in many parts. The subplot with Lily and the teacher wasn't necessary, in my opinion. I'd like to read the author's next book.

j
jr3083
Nov 28, 2017

This book was short-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize but I really can’t work out why. It does well enough as a first novel – and perhaps that is its appeal – but it doesn’t have the depth or skill that I would expect in a shortlist for an award of the calibre of the Man Booker. (That said, the Booker shortlist is not necessarily a fool-proof guide to quality!) Its shortlisting only serves to highlight its shortcomings.
...
The descriptions of landscape are excellent, especially those of the snow that blankets the lake and isolates them even further. But there are too many themes in the book (belonging, dominance, the distinction between act and intent) and the writer labours them. It’s not a bad book by any means and, indeed, I enjoyed reading it, but the marketing world of the Man Booker Prize has shifted it beyond its grade, and done it a disservice.

For my full review, see https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/history-of-wolves-by-emily-fridlund/

r
ralphsanders
Nov 07, 2017

bleak!

s
sarahjgrant
Oct 06, 2017

A rare, intelligent, honest book. It made me think about isolation, the way one person can blind another, about desire and the worlds of guilt and loneliness a person can carry within themselves. I hope it wins the Booker this month!

TSCPL_Miranda Aug 28, 2017

Compelling, lyrical, and skillfully crafted. The narrative voice is distinct and the story is memorable. Bonus: it inspired me with ideas for my own writing.

n
njon38
Jun 18, 2017

A wonderfully written debut coming of age novel about Madeline the 14 year old resident of a former commune and her summer babysitting 4 year old Paul and resulting interaction with his parents Petra and Leo. Lots of great foreshadowing that something terrible happens that summer and the reflections of adult Madeline about the lasting damage.

d
darcylynnepst
Apr 27, 2017

I did not enjoy this book at all, and was pretty disappointed given the positive reviews I read about this book on Goodreads. I found the story jumbled and not very interesting. There were some interesting points in the book (like the commune she grew up in), but I felt they were skipped over and not given any attention. I did not really like any of the characters in this book. This was the first book that I have read in almost a year where I could not finish it. For about the last 50 pages, I just scanned the book to see if anything exciting happened (it didn't). The synopsis of this book makes it's going to be a huge mystery or a huge turn of events at some point, and I felt it fell flat. This is not a book I would recommend.

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