Tuesday, June 6, 2017

History of wolves, by Emily Fridlund

Well-reviewed, this book also attracted me because it is set near the area where we spend our summers, in the “Walleye Capital of the World” as the main character, Linda’s, town is called.  She, however, lives far out of town in a former hippie commune.  Only her father and mother remain, and it is clear that they aren’t the most nurturing of parents.  An odd outcast at school, she becomes fascinated with her new history teacher, brought in after the former teacher literally drops dead in class.  Mr. Grierson returns her attention intellectually, but his real interest may be in Lily, who seems to encourage it.  Whether or not anything has happened between them, Lily’s reputation is ruined – then the truth about Mr. Grierson comes out.  Meanwhile, Linda’s other fascination is the young mother and four-year-old child who have moved into the A-frame across the lake from the shack she and her parents live in.  Patra, short for Cleopatra, and Paul are there alone while Leo, Patra’s much older astronomer husband, is off doing research.  Linda becomes Paul’s unofficial caregiver.  Folding herself into a nuclear family so unlike her own unusual upbringing, Linda is caught up in the undercurrent of concern for Paul that arises when Leo finally comes home.  I found the writing vivid, but the connections between the two main threads of the plotlines confusing.  279 pp.

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