In this intriguing, coming-of-age novel, we are urged to care about Madeline, a naïve teenage girl raised in a now-defunct commune in the Minnesota woods. Unsure that she really belongs to the parents who raised her, she seeks a meaningful connection to other people in her community. Unfortunately, her choices bring her into contact with evil both overt, in the form of a pedophiliac high school teacher, but also covert, in the form of a seemingly nice, normal, neighboring couple with radical religious beliefs. Both have the ability to destroy her young life. In the end, we are left wondering about the origins of evil and its powers of corruption. A truly compelling story!
— Shirley Cagle
A brilliantly imagined novel about a fourteen year old girl of peculiar upbringing who becomes entwined in the lives of a neighboring family. It is a rare novel whose story and astonishing writing style grab me on the very first page. This is the work of an amazing talent.
— Stan Hynds
A teenager takes a job watching over the lonely, fragile four-year-old son of an enigmatic couple in the serene wilderness of northern Minnesota. The deeper the bond that develops between the two, the more certain the girl becomes that the family is harboring some dark secrets. This is a fascinating and disturbing story that drifts through the imagination like an unsettling mist.
— Alden Graves
"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 the Author
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.