Sunday, January 8, 2017

Boswell's Tim McCarthy on Emily Fridlund's "History of Wolves," the #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2017

From Boswell's Tim McCarthy:

"Fourteen-year-old Madeline, who is called Linda, or Commie, or Freak at school, has grown up in Loose River, Minnesota, the Walleye Capitol of the World, a place where the summer tourists crowd a very small one street town. Her parents and several other families arrived in the early 1980's as a group, in a failed attempt to create a communal family. Long ago the others have given up, leaving Linda, her mother and father living in a tiny cabin, where Linda sleeps under the loft rafters. Only the new teacher tries to call her Mattie; and without hesitation she introduces herself as Linda to the new Gardner family, who have built a beautiful house across the lake.

"Linda's layers of isolation become clear, from kids at school, from her own parents, and even within a comforting and beloved land saturated with forests and lakes. It's her new, and increasingly troubling, strange interactions with the teacher and the Gardners which confuse and transform her. The new family--Patra, her four-year-old son Paul, and her husband Leo--are the center of Linda's story. Fridlund has given her main character a strong, steady voice as she moves through her teenage life one step at a time. Linda has the recognizable thoughts of a teenager, with a direct honesty that made me feel proud of her. I wanted to hear what she had to say, even as her story began to make me afraid and sad.

"Fridlund has a remarkable ability to show how the smallest details and changes in people and places can cause sudden, unexpected emotional shifts; and she folds events from different points in Linda's life, ranging from a very young girl to a women in her thirties, into a narrative somehow made clearer by the time changes rather than confusing. History of Wolves was as compelling as the best books I've read this year. Fridlund's debut as a writer is exceptional."

Thanks, Tim! Emily Fridlund appears at Boswell on Friday, January 13, 7 pm, in conversation with proprietor Daniel Goldin. We've had several folks contacting us after reading History of Wolves saying it's the best novel they've read in a long time.