The Rending and the Nest: Book summary and reviews of The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn

The Rending and the Nest

by Kaethe Schwehn

The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn X
The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2018
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one's own story.

When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.

Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object - and other women of Zion follow suit - the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.

Like California by Edan Lepucki and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Rending and the Nest uses a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape to ask decidedly human questions: How well do we know the people we love? What sustains us in the midst of suffering? How do we forgive the brokenness we find within others - and within ourselves?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Schwehn has created a postapocalyptic world in which why is not the main question. The Rending happened; accepting that is the first step toward recovery for the novel's multidimensional characters. This beautifully written story begs to be read again." - Library Journal

"Schwehn's bizarre novel blends seamless storytelling with the raw emotion of a world suddenly turned on its head ... The story culminates in a riveting rescue mission. Schwehn's novel is nerve-wracking in the most satisfying way, and the characters are vivid enough to elevate this story above the well-traveled terrain of postapocalyptic fiction." - Publishers Weekly

"[An] unsettling, postapocalyptic page-turner ... Schwehn has created an intriguing and bizarre world where there are no easy answers ... The entertainment value is high, and those looking for a new dystopian world will be pleased." - Booklist

"Schwehn's narrator establishes her place among post-apocalyptic heroines through her willingness to remake the world from what she has left and her unlikely arrival at hope." - Kirkus

"Part post-apocalyptic novel and part coming-of-age tale, The Rending and the Nest tells the story of ordinary people struggling to understand extraordinary change. It's poignant and mournful, sexy and wry. Kaethe Schwehn is a remarkable talent with a vast and wild imagination." - Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author ofCaligfornia and Woman No. 17

"It is impossible to read Kaethe Schwehn's extraordinary, uncanny novel without placing yourself in the center of its circumstances. Because sometimes the world really does wobble on its axis and in an instant all that we know or have is gone. The only honest comfort we can claim as our own is the stories we call forth from the ruins." - Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Hausfrau

"An accomplished and mesmerizing debut packed with humor and horror and grace. Kaethe Schwehn offers up a magical, unsettling vision of the future, and in doing so joins the company of such literary dazzlers as George Saunders and Margaret Atwood." - Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon and The Dark Net

"One of the most exciting debut novels I've ever read. It beautifully illustrates the fragility of parenthood, womanhood, and our very humanity. Surreal and precise, sharp and moving, this novel joins the ranks of other genius post-apocalyptic works like Oryx and Crake and Station Eleven. Read it and marvel." - Sharma Shields, author of The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac

"A rich and passionate novel of page-turning intensity, an unflinching gaze into our deepest flaws, offering a way forward in the simplest of terms: love, community, humility and trust." - Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening and Bottomland

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Kaethe Schwehn's first book, Tailings: A Memoir, won the 2015 Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, and her chapbook of poems, Tanka & Me, was selected for the Mineral Point Chapbook Series. In addition to holding M.F.A.s from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Montana, Kaethe has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize, a Minnesota Arts Board grant, and a Loft Mentor Series award. She teaches at St. Olaf College and lives in Northfield, Minnesota.

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