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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC FRI Adult Paperback Fiction Book

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"Fridlund writes of families, marriage, and childhood as if our received wisdom--what we thought we knew about life and love and family--needs reparation. This is fiction as excavation, peeling away the machinery of people and converting it to narrative. Fridlund shines a spotlight on what gets hidden and unreported, and the result can be overwhelming--cutting and funny and filled with difficult truth." --Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet

"Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent." --NPR

Selected by Ben Marcus as winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, Catapult follows Emily Fridlund's acclaimed debut novel History of Wolves . Sometimes calculating, at other times bewildered, Catapult 's characters orbit around each other, enacting a deeply human tragicomedy of wit, misunderstanding, and loss. With dexterous, atmospheric, and darkly comic prose, Fridlund conjures worlds where longing is open-ended, intentions misfire, and the line between comfort and cruelty is often difficult to discern. This is a gripping collection, unsettling as much in its familiarity as in its near-gothic strangeness.

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 , and elsewhere. Fridlund's first novel, History of Wolves (Atlantic Monthly Press), was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection and a #1 Indie Next pick.

Author Notes

Emily Fridlund: Emily Fridlund's first novel, History of Wolves (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017), was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection and a #1 Indie Next Pick. Fridlund grew up in Minnesota and currently resides in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Ben Marcus: Ben Marcus is the author of four books of fiction, most recently Leaving the Sea: Stories (Knopf, 2014). His stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, The New York Times, GQ, Salon, Time, Conjunctions , and elsewhere.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Fridlund's focus in Catapult, her second book (following History of Wolves, 2016) and first collection of short stories, can be characterized by the deceptive nature of appearances. Eleven brilliant stories showcase childhood, adolescence, marriage, and families and how the appearances of these events and relationships in life can hide the strangeness and emptiness that pervade beneath the surface. Fridlund tells stories of an eccentric family seeking to survive, a teenage couple endeavoring to veil their raw desires with words, two siblings who have completely different perceptions of the same reality, and the loneliness within the friendship of two women, among others. She unpacks these situations with thoughtful diction and complex characters, and her subdued and controlled language sets what is unsaid at the fore, unveiling hope, despair, and the paradoxes that are often ignored in such close relationships. Fridlund's intelligent and conversational voice impressively manipulates the emotional atmosphere of her stories and will draw readers deep into exploring these seemingly commonplace topics even after they've put the book down.--Park, Emily Copyright 2017 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fridlund (History of Wolves) centers her sharp and startling collection around characters who face acute but everyday struggles in relationships that feel stifling and realistic. In the title story, a teenage girl and her Christian boyfriend become fixated on researching time travel while his parents erroneously assume they are sexually active. In "Marco Polo," a wife's irregular sleeping pattern gnaws at her husband's trust despite all signs that her late-night activities are innocuous. "Gimme Shelter" touches on pivotal moments of three siblings' upbringing, carefully building to the regrets that haunt them as adults. Like many of Fridlund's couples, the protagonists of "Old House" don't realize they are in the tail end of their relationship; they gleefully mock their aging landlady's sincere Swedenborgian theology of love, with no awareness that their own intense but hollow infatuation will soon be over. Fridlund's ability to conjure humor in the darkest moments is clear in her blending of sitcom set-ups with bleak undercurrents. Her breathtaking prose and sly expressions make for compulsive reading. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

The stories in this collection are magical, not because they're otherworldly-most are set in Fridlund's former home state of Minnesota-but because you can't see how she does it. Does she charm with the casually mentioned strange artifacts, such as the pterodactyl-shaped slippers or the birthday candles lit in a loaf of bread? How does the narrator sound so distantly authoritative, yet stay inside the protagonist's head? Sometimes a story's premise is amusing, as in "Expecting," in which the baby is far wiser than the slacker father and son who are trying to raise her. The stories with adult characters are edgy and wise, but sometimes a sense of ill will passes for tension. Fridlund is strongest in developing her teenage protagonists, who wrestle with maturity yet are reluctant to leave childhood behind. The title story is one of the best: a boy and girl fritter away their summer constructing catapults and nearly having sex. VERDICT So much happens in these stories that they are hard to summarize; the prose is deadpan and spare, but the imagery can be breathtaking and the insights startling. Memorable and a joy to read.-Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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