Future Home of the Living God
This is a heavy read; but don’t let that put you off picking up this novel.
It helps to know that Erdrich is an indigenous writer, whose characters are American Indian. This novel is no different. It follows the story of Cedar and young pregnant woman in America. Although it’s not quite the America of today. Yes, this is a dystopian novel that’s set in an unterminated time, but somewhere not that far from now (think “Black Mirror” or Margaret Atwood). It doesn’t take a great leap to read with full understanding that this could be mere years from now (which, if you’re not a lover of “sci-fi” makes for a much easier read).
The whole time I was reading this I was constantly internally referencing “The Handmaids Tale” and found that I was somewhat able to predict the flow of the book. I’m not sure if this was the authors intent, but for me it slightly distracted from my reading as I felt the ideas had been “done” – even if it was decades ago.
That said this is an novel crated by a writer who is skilled and a joy to read. Passages of text just beg to be re-read and then discussed with another reader, or book club – this will be another modern classic I believe, perhaps just for a new generation of politically aware woman; because behind this novel lies a narrative around woman’s rights and the freedom of choice about what happens to them and their bodies, as well as the general movement of western politics.
If you’re going to read this novel, you’ll find the first half slower paced than the second – but take the time to admire the writing and you’ll find that whilst the pace is slower it’s an enjoyable journey. I really loved the transition between sections when you were allowed to draw conclusions about how the story jumped there – hopefully you will too!
About the Author
Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.