Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
(Harper, 2017, 263 pages)
I’m a devoted Erdrich fan and will read anything that she writes. Future Home of the Living God veers away from what you would typically expect from Louise Erdrich; it’s a dystopian novel with a different vibe from what she normally produces.
There’s a lot going on in this book so I pulled the following summary from Goodreads:
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.
… a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.
The novel comes across as a response to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been noted by a number of reviewers. I appreciated the story but this isn’t an Erdrich title I’d classify as a favorite. Unique and timely, given our political climate, I appreciate this different literary styling from an author that I love.
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
(Vintage, 2005, 391 pages)
Reimagining American history – disturbingly prescient.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
(Delacorte Press, 2009, 374 pages)
The Maze Runner by James Dashner is a great Young Adult dystopian novel with a sci-fi edge. It is a suspenseful story filled with excitement, mystery, and tragedy. The characters are well developed and the setting is very detailed.
Thomas wakes in a strange elevator with very little memory about who he is and to make things worse he has no memory of how he got there. He is quickly thrown into an unfamiliar world called the Glade. There are fifty teenage kids that live inside the Glade and they have created a small community in order to survive. Located inside the Glade is a maze that is made of stone walls. At night the doors to the maze close and the walls change before it reopens in the morning. Creatures called Grievers live inside of the maze and terrorize any who dare to take their chance in solving the puzzle, which in turn is the only means of escape. Thomas becomes obsessed with finding a way out even though he knows that the end result could be tragic.
I would recommend this book to teens and adults alike who are looking for a book that moves quickly, has an intriguing story, and is a definite page turner. If you are a fan of the The Hunger Games series then this is a book you will want to pick up. I am looking forward to finishing the series.
California by Edan Lepucki
(Little, Brown and Company, 2014, 393 pages)
California was the first book selection for this semester’s Between the Covers book club. I’m sad I had to miss the discussion – but you might be familiar with the title because it got a lot of attention back in the summer of 2014 with all the Amazon/Hachette publishing drama. On his show, “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert encouraged people to buy Lepucki’s book from independent bookstores when it wasn’t available for pre-order on Amazon and that helped promote the book in a way that almost nothing else could.
Young married couple Cal and Frida have set off on their own and are living off the land in California. Set in the “near” future, the world they live in is a bleak place but they find comfort in each other’s company. Their view on the life they’ve been leading changes when Frida finds out she might be pregnant. The couple heads out to join a closed off community close by that they take turns being unsure of. The community is understandably wary of strangers and they have secrets Cal and Frida try to uncover in order to determine if this is somewhere worth staying.
If you’re a fan of dystopian novels you might consider picking this title up.
You can also check out Theresa’s review.