Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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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.

Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9780062694058
0062694057
Characteristics: 269 pages

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b
BWilsoned
Apr 16, 2018

Wow! Erdrich knows how to write them, and this one is awesome. Cedar, part Ojibwe, adopted by crunchy hippies, finds her birth mother at a time when evolution, apparently, has stopped moving forward.
Pregnant women are imprisoned until they give birth so that healthy babies can be farmed out to other people. Of course, native women seem to be the ones able to produce healthy babies, so Cedar is on the run from the get-go.
Not a happy ending, so I was disappointed with that--I'm definitely a Pollyanna.

l
Lotushead
Apr 08, 2018

Louise paints a very frightening future.

AL_ANNAL Apr 01, 2018

A lyrical celebration of and eulogy for maternal love and life as we know it. The book is told in the first person in the form of a letter 26 year old Cedar writes to her developing fetus. Not as well thought out as Erdrich's other books, but still a well written and thought provoking dystopian novel. A New York Times notable book of 2017.

l
LucasHill
Mar 28, 2018

I have read comments by other reviewers that this is too much like other works (The Handmaid's Tale and The Children of Men, to name a couple) to be truly original. Erdrich apparently began writing this decades ago, and now believes that the current political climate makes it more relevant. There is only one thing in particular that I can point to (other than what I mentioned) that figures into characterizing this is a substandard book: pregnant woman are imperiled by a theocratic government, but why? I am fine with this story being a statement on the subjugation of women's bodies by government, but there might of been more satisfying ways of doing that. It is the weakest of her works I've read.

JessicaGma Feb 22, 2018

It was an unsettling book in the sense that you're not really sure what is going on around the characters, which continues on during the plot. You get mere snippets but then events in the world keep escalating, and Cedar doesn't seem to pay a lot of attention at times but this would be anyone in this situation, as events seemed to change day to day. It does bear comparison to A Handmaid's Tale as that would be the sequel, years down the road. Worth reading!

r
rlar31
Feb 10, 2018

Nice work. IN her top 5. Loses it's way several times but for those of us who are huge fans, is a must. Look forward to another soon.

AL_LESLEY Feb 08, 2018

A family drama and a theocratic fertility obsessed dystopia going on at the same time. Shame is that neither aspect of this book is fleshed out. I found it interesting yet a bit lifeless. Maybe the Catholicism was a bit much for me.

d
drsarav
Feb 05, 2018

This was a boring book. The protagonist is completely self centered and lacks breadth (although she imagines that she's very deep, since she is into Catholic esoterica). The nature of the apocalypse is never made clear, only that HER baby is normal. I was hoping there was some salvation for humanity to be found in the protagonist's mixed genetic/social background, but we never get past the mundane family drama and the "What To Expect When You're Expecting" fetal development descriptions. I only finished reading it because I couldn't believe it'd gotten such high reviews, I was sure there'd be some acceleration of the plot. Instead it was a poor hybrid of a family "saga" and a dystopia.

m
m0mmyl00
Feb 02, 2018

Future Home of the Living God is more Handmaid’s Tale than LaRose or Round House. While I liked it fine, it felt like a shadow of The Handmaid’s Tale. I liked the characters; Cedar Hawk Songmaker seemed genuine and genuinely confused, as well she should be. Her ultra-liberal adoptive parents were careful not to tell her what to think as she grew up, therefore she doesn’t really know what she thinks. But she has the will and courage to explore and seek answers. Her birth mother is simple and unremarkable on the surface, but she, too, is strong and principled. I would like to see these folks navigate circumstances I could relate to. In The Future Home of the Living God, though, evolution has started reversing itself. Babies are often — usually — not viable; and when they do thrive, they seem to be a genetic precursor to the humans of today. This is not a concept that stirs me to questions or provokes me to insights.

CRRL_MegRaymond Jan 05, 2018

A dystopian vision of the future awaits pregnant Cedar Hawk Songmaker, who was born on an Ojibwe reservation and adopted by white liberals.

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anneholmquist
Dec 04, 2017

Postapocalyptic, women can't get pregnant or have enhanced (mutated) children,. Fertile women are held in prison until birth. Theocracy which keeps only "normal" children, which ar farmed out at birth. Indian woman with normal child in utero tells story to mbryo, then child is taken away.

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