Future home of the living god
Future Home of the Living God by Louise ErdrichLouise 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.
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Feminists and writers of speculative fiction have long known this. Now Louise Erdrich tackles the subject in her 16th novel. Here, the narrative takes the form of a secret diary, written by Cedar Hawk Songmaker and addressed to her unborn child. Four months into her unplanned pregnancy, Cedar sets out in search of her birth family to learn more of her genetic history. This crisis of breeding quickly spreads to humans and the ensuing panic is exploited by an authoritarian government with theocratic overtones. The second part of the book sees Cedar detained in one of these clinics, betrayed by someone she trusted, and planning her escape, her account fraught with the tension between her protective maternal instincts and the growing fear that the child she carries is in some way less than human.
HarperCollins Publishers. And finally a shape recognizable as the humans we are, striding proudly forth out of the evolutionary murk. The narrative that emerges is a literally uplifting story of progression toward an ultimate, inevitable goal. For reasons no one understands, evolution has stopped; it is now running backward. Cedar is a character who could have been invented only by Erdrich, whose fiction has often explored the uncomfortable intersections between Native Americans and those of us who arrived on this continent more recently.
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Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of contemporary Native American novelists. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. - Thus, what begins as a story about motherhood and origins quickly metamorphoses into an action-packed escape adventure as Cedar fights for her freedom. The introduction of every new detail comes hand in hand with a series of associated questions: How?
For the next step, you'll be taken to a website to complete the donation and enter your billing information. You'll then be redirected back to LARB. To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining There is less than a week left to support our matching grant fund drive! Your tax-deductible donation made to LARB by pm, December 31, will be doubled thanks to an anonymous donor. Of course, many start out as tender, maternal people and experience few significant personality changes. But for others, the birth of a baby is the destruction of one way of life, one way of being, and the start of another.
The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Erdrich, Louise. Future Home of the Living God. New York: HarperCollins, The protagonist of Future Home of the Living God is Cedar Hawk Songmaker, a year-old pregnant woman from Minneapolis who is narrating the story as a journal she plans to give to her unborn child. She explains that an apocalypse is underway involving the reversal of evolution, and that authorities believe this situation could lead to difficulties in human reproduction. Cedar, who is a Native American adopted at birth by Glen and Sera Songmaker, two liberal Buddhist hippies, chooses this time to visit the nearby Ojibwe reservation and meet her birth mother. Cedar witnesses Sweetie convince the tribal council to erect a shrine honoring Kateri Tekakwitha, the Native American Catholic saint.