Future Home of the Living God

Cedar is four months pregnant when orders go out asking all pregnant women to turn themselves in amid reports that evolution is running in reverse. Strange new birdsongs can be heard, tomatoes and other plants are no longer recognizable, something like a saber-toothed cat prowls the backyard. Human children seem to be affected, too, but exactly how is a closely guarded secret. Cedar hides and schemes and escapes as her belly grows bigger, and new systems of control and resistance arise in the now-bleak new world. There are obvious comparisons to be made to the The Handmaid’s Tale here, but Erdrich weaves more love and hope into her world. That said, the book is grim, and in the end I found myself at once assured of the rightness of that despair while also reaching for something to counter it.