FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD: A NOVEL
In Future Home of the Living God, novelist Louise Erdrich’s dystopian parable of the way we live now, civilisation and all its creatures are careening backward, even as the world ostensibly crawls forward. In the future chronicled by Cedar Hawk Songmaker, a pregnant Native American writing a journal that her unborn child may never read, evolution has reversed course. The apparent goal: Preserve those increasingly rare offspring who somehow haven’t descended the evolutionary chain, while using childbearing women as breeders housing previously frozen embryos. It all suggests Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s
Tale; as Erdrich writes in a note to her readers, it relates to a here and now of “white men in dark suits deciding crucial issues of women’s health.”
At its best, it also plays a variation on Erdrich’s great theme, experienced by so many of the Native American characters she’s created during her career: Versions of the original sin through which invaders ruined indigenous cultures, murdering native peoples and stealing their land. This novel’s theocracy is yet another illustration of killers invoking God to destroy paradise.