"Where will you be, my darling, the last time it snows on earth?"
What might happen if our evolution suddenly regressed? If women started giving birth to babies closer to our evolutionary ancestors than modern humans? Such compelling wonderings are what I enjoy most about speculative fiction. Erdrich's answer to this question is quite realistic and utterly frightening. Women/Birthing People would definitely be the ones to suffer most in such a world. Without consideration of the fact that half of any babe's genes come from the other parent.
I'm a strong character-reader. Compelling and dynamic characters are my bread and butter. I take comfort in characters that I feel investment in. In Future Home, I didn't love any of the characters, but I had to keep reading to see where the story would go. Would Cedar somehow survive this pregnancy?
The middle of the book dragged quite a bit and I found myself skimming a lot of it. There were also startling bursts of violence that seemed to come out of nowhere. Always unsuspected, yet felt both like it was necessary and like it was overkill in the moment.
When I turned the final page, my response was, "Huh. 🤔" The ending was anticlimactic but also perfectly aligned. I didn't know what to expect and the lack of expectation means I can accept this kind of ambiguous ending. Very much "The Giver" vibes. That ending still has me fucked up 15 years later. And I think Future Home's ending will join it in taking up space in my noggin. 😩 Cause a sis still has questions!
Another thing I valued about this novel is an alternative rewriting of history -- native tribes taking advantage of the chaos to regain their land. Sometimes good can come out chaos.
In short, I wouldn't give this book a blanket recommendation for everyone. I don't think it's a story all readers would enjoy. However, if you enjoy speculative fiction, are looking for something to make you ponder deeply, and don't mind having unanswered questions, then give Future Home of the Living God a try.
Thanks for reading! Let's chat about this book if you've read it, or your fave speculative stories. ⤵️