The History of Wolves

The History of Wolves

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
14-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.
Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2017.
ISBN: 9781443453752
Branch Call Number: FIC Fridl
Characteristics: 288 pages ; 23 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
JCLHelenH May 04, 2020

Linda, whose parents are the last holdouts at a failed commune, becomes nanny to an apparently well-educated family who are not what they seem. It's an interesting window into a world most of us only hear about in tabloids.

Jun 30, 2019

Enjoyable to read a novel set in Minnesota. The story jumps around quite a bit and seems to lose its way at times. Mild recommendation. Kristi & Abby Tabby

May 22, 2019

Shortlisted for the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award.

Nov 02, 2018

Read the book again in December/January prior to trip to Tuscon?

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).

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".

SPPL_caitlink Mar 25, 2018

A quiet narrative set in northern Minnesota brilliantly juxtaposes the tense, disquieting, and heartbreaking family event that lumbers through a young woman's coming of age story. You won't be able to put it down, but you will be forced to in order to come up for a breath of air.

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!

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.

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

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top