Summary and book reviews of Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

Future Home of the Living God

by Louise Erdrich

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich X
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2017, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2018, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

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About this Book

Book Summary

A startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event.

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby's origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.

Part 1

August 7
When I tell you that my white name is Cedar Hawk Songmaker and that I am the adopted child of Minneapolis liberals, and that when I went looking for my Ojibwe parents and found that I was born Mary Potts I hid the knowledge, maybe you'll understand. Or not. I'll write this anyway, because ever since last week things have changed. Apparently— I mean, nobody knows— our world is running backward. Or forward. Or maybe sideways, in a way as yet ungrasped. I am sure somebody will come up with a name for what is happening, but I cannot imagine how everything around us and everything within us can be fixed. What is happening involves the indivisible, the quanta of which we are created. Whatever is actually occurring, there is constant breaking news about how it will be handled— speculation, really, concerning what comes next— which is why I am writing an account.

Historic times! There have always been letters and diaries written in times of ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

While the book is frequently humorous, it is also haunting. Cedar's fate points to a possible future in which women's bodies are colonized and their choices about reproduction are not their own. Future Home of the Living God is smart but not pretentious. It is funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking, all without missing a beat – an impressive achievement.   (Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Full Review (827 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Erdrich's characters are brave and conscientious, but none of them really come across as people; they act mostly as vehicles for Erdrich's ideas. Those ideas, however - reproductive freedom, for one, and faith in and respect for the natural world - are strikingly relevant. Erdrich has written a cautionary tale for this very moment in time.

Library Journal
Quite different from Erdrich's previous work, this chilling speculative fiction is perfect for readers seeking the next Handmaid's Tale

Booklist
Starred Review. Masterful…A tornadic, suspenseful, profoundly provoking novel of life's vulnerability and insistence…with a bold apocalyptic theme, searing social critique, and high-adrenaline action.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. There is much to rue in this novel about our world but also hope for salvation: 'I think we have survived because we love beauty and because we find each other beautiful,' as the novel's protagonist puts it. 'I think it may be our strongest quality.'

Reader Reviews

lani

speculative world
Not having read any of the reviews, I had no idea what I was getting into. Having been a big fan of Erdrich's other novels, I assumed that this would again be a comparable success.However,it is a novel quite unlike anything she has written before. ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

In Future Home of the Living God, some of the inhabitants of the reservation that is home to Cedar's birth mother, encounter a vision of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, causing them to build a shrine in her honor. Tekakwitha was a devoted Catholic who was persecuted for her faith, and Cedar finds meaning in her suffering and inspiration in her perseverance. Tekakwitha is also significant because she is the first canonized Native American saint.

Statue Kateri Tekakwitha Tekakwitha was born in present day Auriesville, New York in 1656 to a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father. The Dutch, French, and English were all battling for territory in the New World at this time, and the Native American villages were frequently visited by Jesuit missionaries. The ...

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