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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize

Even a lone wolf wants to belong....

Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of Northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak' or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on.

So when the perfect family - mother, father and their little boy, Paul - move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit. She begins to babysit Paul and feels that she finally has a place to belong. But something isn't right. Drawn into secrets she doesn't understand, Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledge of the world understand what the consequences will be?

©2017 Emily Fridlund (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group Limited

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The worst piece of art i listened to

Just a collection of unimportant chats and thoughts that doesn't make any sense. It is very poor attempt to attract some listeners.

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  • bookylady
  • 10-10-17

An absorbing novel, with hidden depths.

At a very basic level this novel seems very simple, a tale of a young girl growing up in an unusual environment ( an ex-commune) who becomes attracted to the life of a seemingly ordinary family who live nearby. She becomes drawn in by that family and becomes implicated in the secrets that bind them. It all ends in tragedy and the girl has to examine her part in it.

But this novel is so much more than that straightforward narrative. It examines bullying in all its forms, by adults and children; secrets and lies; the nature of truth; coercion within relationships; religion and the choices that it forces upon vulnerable people; the rights of children; alleged paedophiles and their 'victims'.

It is very atmospheric and the descriptions of the remote area in which the story is set are very vivid. The only thing that bothered me was the voice of the narrator. Someone with a little more gravitas would have been more suitable, I felt. but overall, it didn't spoil the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 10-12-17

Good but Bloopers

I found this dark coming-of-age story extremely compelling and it has more emotional resonance for me than anything else on the Booker shortlist this year. Caitlin Thorburn read very well, although the voice was a little teenagy for a woman in her 30's as Madeline is when she narrates the story.

What annoyed me though were the bloopers, when a word was misread and became non-sensical in the context of the sentence - there were quite a few and they were majorly jarring and pulled me out of the story each time. How hard would it be to stop the recording and rerecord that section and get it right? This is a question for all publishers of audiobooks.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Queenie
  • 12-08-17

Woah.

Slow burner but worth the wait. DEFINITELY re-read the first 70 ish pages once you're done.

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  • Suswati
  • 11-03-17

Compelling and rather odd

History of Wolves is a coming of age story that will resonate with many people. Linda, mostly left to raise herself by hippy, laid back parents, lives in Northern Minnesota, on grounds that used to belong to a commune, of which her parents were members.

Linda is 14, melodramatic and poetic. She's somewhat obsessed with a classmate, Lily, who spread rumours that their teacher, Me Grierson, molested her though this is questionable. Linda's narrative often veers off into dark corners, and the way the story is told (going back and forth, from teenage Linda to older Linda, reminiscing) only serves to increase the feeling of unease as the reader continues through the story.

The girl also spends a lot of time babysitting Paul, a toddler who moved into a cabin across the lake with his mother, Patra. Paul's father, Leo, is often working away, but when he arrives, Linda's relationship with Petra becomes strained. Patra's youth becomes glaringly obvious when her older husband appears. As a reader you're aware that something terrible has happened, but author Emily Fridlund trickled the information into your mind, keeping you reading until the end. The story surrounds Linda feeling both as a victim and a wrongdoer.

It's not the best Man Booker long list read as at times the narrative is far too disjointed. But the author writes very well.

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  • AJ Beadel
  • 10-18-17

Outstanding - such great scenes, so tense, so real

Don't know why this book hasn't garnered many rave reviews yet - it is a excellently-written novel, fantastically staged scenes with a believable and fascinating heroine. The tension is built up slowly and effectively. Narration is expertly done too. Not a dull moment in the whole book, it's wonderful.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-18-17

Fine narration, dull story

The story was drawn out and I found it rather tedious. Protagonist not very likeable and not interesting enough. Would have benefited from a good merciless editor who'd cut out half of the heroine's inner monologue/emotions.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nickas Serpentarius
  • 08-23-17

not my usual read

An intriguing story, but hard for me to really get into as i couldn't relate to any of the characters.
I felt as though most of the story was made up of observations of the miniscule details of life. Whilst these observations were very evocative of the mundane, I felt like I spent most of the book wondering when it was going to tell me something of value to the larger story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful