Cover image for Wolf winter : a novel
Title:
Wolf winter : a novel
ISBN:
9781490631738
Edition:
Unabridged.
Physical Description:
11 audio discs (12 hr., 30 min.) : digital, optical, CD audio ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact discs.
Added Author:
Summary:
Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow. While herding the family's goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors' strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson's widow, Maija is drawn into the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice. As the seasons change, and the "wolf winter," the harshest winter in memory, descends upon the settlers, Paavo travels to find work, and Maija finds herself struggling for her family's survival in this land of winter-long darkness. As the snow gathers, the settlers' secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, but Maija, not knowing who to trust and who may betray her, is determined to find the answers for herself. Soon, Maija discovers the true cost of survival under the mountain, and what it will take to make it to spring.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION EKB 11 DISCS 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION EKB 11 DISCS 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION EKB 11 DISCS 1 1
Searching...
Searching...
Audiobook SCD FICTION EKB 11 DISCS 1 1
Searching...

On Order

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1717, Ekbäck's diverting debut focuses on a Finnish family-Maija Harmaajärvi; her husband, Paavo; and their daughters, 14-year-old Frederika and six-year-old Dorotea-as they start a new life in Swedish Lapland. One day while herding goats, the girls discover a body. Their neighbors believe the dead man, Eriksson, was killed by wolves or a bear, but Maija is convinced that he was murdered and aims to prove it. Ekbäck does a good job depicting a terrifying snowstorm, the conflicting cultures of settlers and Lapps, and the endless winter darkness. But the novel also contains a disorienting mix of obsolete words and current phrasing, realistic glimpses of pioneer hardships, and far-fetched plot devices involving the local bishop and a pack of wolves that may or may not exist. Two resident ghosts-Maija's grandmother, who constantly offers advice, and the reincarnated Eriksson, who prods Frederika to unearth his killer-add to the incongruity. Agents: Janelle Andrews and Rachel Mills, Peters, Fraser & Dunlop (U.K.). (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Guardian Review

It's 1717 in Swedish Lapland, winter is approaching and a new family of settlers has arrived on the bleak and beautiful Blackasen mountain, hoping to hardscrabble a living from the unforgiving land. When 14-year-old newcomer Frederika stumbles on the mutilated body of a man in the forest, the locals are keen to blame wolves, but Frederika and her mother, the tough, resourceful Maija, are determined to get to the truth. Swedish-born Cecilia Ekback's striking debut follows a trail blazed in the recent past by Stef Penney, Eowyn Ivey, Hannah Kent, David Vann and others. But Wolf Winter is a welcome addition to what is fast becoming a subgenre of eerie, atmospheric tales of remote and icy wrongdoing. Not quite Scandi crime, where stark reality confronts the Nordic dream, this new brand of literary northern noir explores a world where utopia and dystopia coincide and it's hard to tell the difference between the two. There is some breathtaking writing here. Ekback is wonderful at evoking place, and when the place you write about is as brooding and menacing as Blackasen, you hardly need a human villain - though there are those aplenty, too. In Wolf Winter, the demons are human, natural and supernatural; spirits are conjured, first by a group of Lapps living just north of the settlement, then by Frederika as her search for the truth sends her deeper into their realm. Such a setting, where the contrast between the ethereal otherworldliness of the place and the unrelenting grind required to survive there, lends itself to fabular storytelling. In a less talented writer's hand, the comingling of real and spirit worlds might feel a little magic realist-lite, but it works a treat here. At its heart, Wolf Winter is a locked-room mystery with the door left slightly ajar. For all its seeming harmony, the tiny settlement around Blackasen is riven with rivalries, long-held grudges and dark secrets. Everyone in the settlement has his or her own reason for wanting the murdered man dead and it's up to the doughty Maija to work out who wielded the knife. However, we're never quite sure of Maija's motivation for putting herself in the way of opprobrium and even danger to solve the mystery. The tale is told from a number of points of view and sometimes feels unfocused. Who-and-whydunnits require tremendous discipline: at times, the pacing is uneven, while there's a little too much repetition and a few too many scenes that do not advance the story. There's a great deal of historical research gone into Wolf Winter, not all of which is lightly worn. As the story opens, Sweden is about to lose its great northern empire; there are wars on its borders and talk of conscription. But Blackasen is remote and otherworldly, and the impact of the new geopolitical realities on its settlers arrives too late in the narrative make much difference. But there is so much to enjoy in Ekback's debut that it's easy to ignore the occasional clumsiness and easier still to forget that this is a debut. Wolf Winter repays reading for the beauty of its prose, its strange, compelling atmosphere and its tremendous evocation of the stark, dangerous, threatening place, which exits in the far north and in the hearts of all of us. Melanie McGrath's The Long Exile is published by Harper. 432pp, Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 14.99 To order Wolf Winter for pounds 11.99 go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. - Melanie McGrath Swedish-born Cecilia Ekback's striking debut follows a trail blazed in the recent past by Stef Penney, Eowyn Ivey, Hannah Kent, David Vann and others. But Wolf Winter is a welcome addition to what is fast becoming a subgenre of eerie, atmospheric tales of remote and icy wrongdoing. Not quite Scandi crime, where stark reality confronts the Nordic dream, this new brand of literary northern noir explores a world where utopia and dystopia coincide and it's hard to tell the difference between the two. - Melanie McGrath.


Kirkus Review

Ekbck takes readers on a journey to Swedish Lapland in 1717, a harsh and unforgiving place where the supernatural bleeds over into the difficult lives of the few settlers trying to make it through a hardscrabble winter. It's June, and 14-year-old Fredericka and Dorotea, her 6-year-old sister, are herding goats in the glade near their cabin when they stumble across the horribly mutilated body of a man. Ever since the family moved to Blacksen Mountain from their seacoast home, they've spent most of their time preparing for the difficult winter headed their way. Their parents, Paavo and Maija, recently migrated from Finland after trading their boat for a patch of ground and a cabin. Paavo couldn't wait to leave fishing once he discovered his hereditary aversion to water. Now they're wondering what type of place they've settled in, with murdered men and secrets swirling around them. The dead man, identified as Eriksson, had been missing for three days, but no one seems particularly disturbed at his slaying, and word is out that bad things happen on the mountain. Maija decides to keep investigating Eriksson's death, even though it's not a popular move with the mountain's other inhabitants, and soon begins uncovering evidence of supernatural happenings on Blacksen, along with a litany of unexplained deaths and events. And despite the unpopularity of Maija's moves, she refuses to let it go, even when events begin to spin out of her control and her family is threatened. Ekbck's straightforward prose lacks nuance, but her first novel takes readers into places that few will ever have gone. This snapshot of life in a place where winter can be unspeakably cruel, where simply staying alive is a victory, proves irresistible. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Ekbäck's thrilling debut, part historical fiction, part murder mystery, part supernatural chiller, takes place in Lapland in 1717. Resourceful Maija; her emotionally fragile husband, Paavo; and their two daughters, Frederika and Dorotea, have left their native Finland to settle in rural Sweden. They are hoping for a new start, but, almost immediately, Frederika stumbles on the badly mutilated body of a neighbor. The villagers are convinced it was a wolf attack, but Maija suspects murder. As paranoia and suspicion take root, Maija continues to investigate, though her inquiries are met with resistance from both her neighbors and the church, which wields considerable authority. Meanwhile, Maija is ill prepared for the brutal winter, one of the harshest in memory, which has her frantically storing food and supplies to withstand the onslaught of snow and cold. And looming over the village is the specter of Blackasen Mountain, which seems to harbor a malevolent spirit. Like Hannah Kent in Burial Rites (2013), Ekbäck evokes the forbidding landscape and the inclement weather in beautiful prose while also crafting a layered, suspenseful story. Perhaps the richest gift of the many riches on display here, though, is Maija, a brave, intelligent woman whose skill and persistence bring closure to a suffering community.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2014 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Maija and her family move from their native Finland to Swedish Lapland in the summer of 1717, hoping for a fresh start. That dream is shattered when Maija's oldest daughter, Frederika, discovers the mutilated body of a fellow settler on nearby Blackasen Mountain. While the community insists a wolf is to blame, Maija is convinced he was murdered, and her investigation triggers events that will change their lives forever. As a harsh winter sets in and the settlers struggle to survive, Maija becomes entangled in the secrets, past tragedies, and religion of her neighbors and the native Lapps. Both Maija and Frederika are at once guided and tormented by the spirits of the dead, as they each attempt to solve the murder. VERDICT Swedish-born debut author Ekback writes with deliberate pacing and immerses the reader in the endless snowfall of winter with her hypnotic prose. The novel will appeal to readers who like their historical fiction dark and atmospheric, or mystery fans who are open to mysticism and unconventional sleuths. Readers who enjoyed the winter landscape and magical realism of Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child may also want to try this. [See "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 9/1/14.]-Emily Byers, Tillamook Cty. Lib., OR (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.