FU­TURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD: A NOVEL

The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Books - By Louise Er­drich

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.

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