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Catapult: Stories
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Published:
Sarabande Books 2017
Status:
Available from OverDrive

Description

Sometimes calculating, other times bewildered, Catapult's characters orbit around each other enacting the deeply human tragicomedy of wit and 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. A gripping collection, unsettling in its familiar strangeness.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/18/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781946448064
ASIN:
B072KXKXKD

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Emily Fridlund. (2017). Catapult: Stories. Sarabande Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Emily Fridlund. 2017. Catapult: Stories. Sarabande Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Emily Fridlund, Catapult: Stories. Sarabande Books, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Emily Fridlund. Catapult: Stories. Sarabande Books, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:58:40
Date Updated:
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Sometimes calculating, other times bewildered, Catapult's characters orbit around each other enacting the deeply human tragicomedy of wit and 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. A gripping collection, unsettling in its familiar strangeness.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 21, 2017
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Eleven stories of misshapen families and broken friendships disturb and unsettle. Fridlund follows History of Wolves (2017), her marvelous and preternaturally accomplished first novel, with a collection of jarring and polished short fiction. The craft is evident in the perfect titles and the observational acuity of the sentences. In a story called "One You Run From, the Other You Fight," a childless woman trespasses into a boy's room: "Teenage boys always unnerved her, with their dramatic bodies and bad skin, their needy flirtation. They couldn't decide if they wanted to be liked or hated." In quick phrases, Fridlund's characters are vividly embodied, such as Lora, 34, "with her lavish red nails, fingering the dry skin on her elbows." The narrator of this story, "Here, Still," begins with the ambiguous "I do not like her much, Lora, my best friend." Neither will the reader. Fridlund writes about lives that feel, to their owners, "fundamentally unreal and insubstantial." In "Marco Polo," a young man describes his marriage slipping away like the child's game. He ends his tale by donning his ex's earplugs and mask for sleep, "faceless, pitiless, and perfect." The only narrator with much agency is Katie, who remembers being an alpha girl of 14. She begins that summer reading vampire stories and ends it sexually mounting a boy her age who tells her "No, wait" in the unnerving title story, "Catapult." It captures Katie's intelligence and heedless insistence on launching from childhood. This is darker, thornier terrain than Mattie Furston navigated in History of Wolves, but the geography is similar: the Upper Midwest, the Iron Range, existentially lonely rural and suburban outposts. Each story mixes its humans with other mammals--rabbits, mice, bears, and especially dogs. Fridlund insists on functions primal and rude. She likes the color yellow for teeth and toenails, linoleum, rabbit fur, and toothpicks. Her stories evoke Flannery O'Connor's masterly way with grotesquery but deviate in Fridlund's contempt for faith. Bracing, often brilliant stories deliver a shock to the routine narratives we tell.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (Online Review)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2017

        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 Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from September 15, 2017
        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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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