Title: Future Home of the Living God
Author: Louise Erdrich
Genre: Dystopian Thriller
Publisher: Harper Collins
Length: 288 pages
Available: 14 November 2017
Everything is moving backward in Lousia Erdrich’s latest novel, Future Home of the Living God. It’s not just society’s view of women, which echoes Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, but climate change has taken full effect. There is no more winter, the summers get too hot, and now evolution seems to be reversing itself. Cedar Songmaker’s struggles initially have her focusing on an unplanned pregnancy and meeting her birth mother, an Ojibwe woman living on a reservation than continues to shrink.
“This is how the world ends, I think, everything crazy yet people doing normal things.”
— location 407
Adopted by white, middle-class liberals, class systems are pitted against each other in the way they are outside of fiction: through microaggressions unknowingly made by the privileged characters in the book. The world is seemingly starting to end, yet Cedar’s adoptive parents are focused more on the loss of literature, art, and poetry, than what this means for the earth as a whole. Until actual devastation enters their lives.
Cedar documents everything in a diary she’s keeping to give to her unborn child — a child she must hide from everybody. In this new United States, led by the Church of the New Constitution, the Patriot Act has been expanded to track and detain all pregnant women. And no one knows what happens to these women, or the babies once they’re born.
Naturally untrustworthy, Cedar uses her spirituality and instincts to guide her through the new worlds, and new identities she has to navigate. Not only must she come to terms with her biological identity as an Ojibwe woman, but she must also learn what it means to be a mother, embrace her own spirituality as her country weaponizes religion, and learn how to live with, and fight against, the wrath of mother nature.
“Maybe we all learned it in former lives, deep places, gathering grounds, caves and huts of sticks, skin houses, prisons, and graves. It is a wordless melody that only women sing. Slow, beautiful, sad, ecstatic, we sing a hymn of war and a march of peace.”
— location 4018
Erdrich blends elements of science-fiction and women’s fiction in a way that presents like a masterclass for writers looking to hone their craft. For readers, she has created a seamless account of the fall of so many facets of our lives as we know them. An eco-thriller filled with tender moments and harsh truths, Future Home of the Living God is a must-read for everyone worrying about the future of our country and our planet.