Future Home of the Living God: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Cedar Hawk Songmaker is 26 years old and pregnant.Although she loves her adoptive, hippy parents, she feels a need to find her birth parents, Ojibwe Indians. Cedar’s pregnancy comes at an inopportune time; the government, tinkering with genetic repairs, has seized medical data bases and are rounding up all pregnant women, declaring it a crime to harbor or help a pregnant woman. Cedar wants none of this. She fights to keep her child, in her own way, and realizes that it’s not the past that haunts her, but the future! This dystopian novel, written by award winning author Louise Edrich, is a real thriller!

- Recommended by Virgie

— From November Staff Picks for Bibliophiles

Louise Erdrich really does have a way with words as demonstrated by her previous National Book Award winning novel, The Round House and critically acclaimed Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Plague of Doves.  She is a beautiful writer.

This story has all the Native American cultural atmosphere of her previous books but, this time set in a very near future dystopian America. “Future Home of The Living God” follows 26-year-old Native American Cedar Hawk Songmaker, who was adopted by a couple of Minneapolis liberals.  Cedar finds herself pregnant and for genetic purposes decides to reach out to her birth family.  The book starts out with subtle hints of the effects of climate change, such as real maple syrup only coming from Canada because it has become too warm in Vermont.  Change is happening in animals and humans as well.  It seems a de-evolution is beginning to take place and it is really apparent in newborns.

America seems to be devolving too, and a religious totalitarian movement is beginning to take over.  Squads are rounding up pregnant women, who once captive aren't seen again.  Cedar goes into hiding with the help of both her families and the father of her baby, Phil. Rewards are being offered to turn in pregnant women so it is a very perilous time to be a pregnant woman.

The influence of Margaret Atwood is all over this novel, so if you enjoyed A Handmaid’s Tale, you will enjoy this scary foray into our possible future.  The pacing of this novel is like a thriller, resulting in late-night reads to see what is going to happen next.  She also waxes philosophical, almost poetic at times. I am still digesting the ending and don't want to give anything away.  This book is being met with some controversial opinions, however one thing everyone agrees on is Erdrich knows how to write beautifully and her pacing is compelling.

— From Book Review: A Compelling Read and a Hilarious Listen


A New York Times Notable Book of 2017

Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints 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. Twenty-six-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.

Praise For…

“Erdrich’s inclusiveness, her expansive vision of humanity surprises and pleases on every page…Erdrich’s virtuosity reminds me of an eagle in flight…Her wisdom blossoms from multicultural sources and is always inviting the reader in, in, to deeper understanding and identity.”

“A streamlined dystopian thriller…Erdrich’s tense and lyrical new work of speculative fiction stands shoulder-to-braced-shoulder right alongside The Handmaid’s Tale.”

“Erdrich stuns again in Future Home of The Living God…She grounds her story in a kind of sharply drawn reality that makes the standard tropes of dark futurism that much more unnerving…Erdrich is a writer whose words carry a spiritual weight far beyond science, or fiction.”

“Erdrich is a seer, a visionary whose politics are inextricable from her fiction…[Future Home of the Living God] is an eerie masterpiece, a novel so prescient that though it conjures an alternate reality, it often provokes the feeling that, yes this is really happening.” 

“In this fast-paced novel, rapid and catastrophic changes to human reproduction make the survival of the race uncertain…Erdrich imagines an America in which winter is a casualty of climate change, borders are sealed, men are ‘militantly insecure,’ and women’s freedom is evaporating…Vivid…Compelling.”

“Smart and thrilling…the book reads like an alternate history of our anxious current moment…Erdrich’s storytelling is seductive.”

“A fascinating new novel, which describes a world where evolution is running backward and the future of civilization is in doubt.”

“Philosophical yet propulsive…Future Home of the Living God is as much a thriller as it is a religious-themed literary novel — it thrives on narrow escapes, surprise character appearances, and a perpetual sense of peril…effective and cannily imagined.”

“We recognize…the same miasma of anxiety and unease that Americans now breathe. This is fiction, of course; the details are not from our world. But the sensation is…Vivid and suspenseful…Once Cedar is imprisoned, the story turns thrilling.”

“Masterful…a breakout work of speculative fiction…Erdrich enters the realm of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale…A tornadic, suspenseful, profoundly provoking novel of life’s vulnerability and insistence…with a bold apocalyptic theme, searing social critique, and high-adrenaline action.”

“[A] startling new work of speculative fiction…strikingly relevant. Erdrich has written a cautionary tale for this very moment in time.”

“A dazzling work of dystopian fiction a la Handmaid’s Tale.

“Propulsive, wry, and keenly observant…this chilling speculative fiction is perfect for readers seeking the next Handmaid’s Tale.”

“An original (and utterly terrifying) creation…Haunting…smart but not pretentious. It is funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking, all without missing a beat – an impressive achievement.”

“[Erdrich] once again proves her talent for narrating a profound and compelling story.”

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062694058
ISBN-10: 0062694057
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English