Future Home of the Living God: A Novel by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well, this is definitely LitSF for you folks out there who love your LitSF.
What is LitSF? The self-styled lyrical, ambiguous, often rambling, sometimes even pretentious style of mainstream fiction that touts itself as being SF while being, primarily, pages from a regular everyday diary. The SF aspect is usually quite remote, and even if it might have an interesting premise, it usually never directly impacts the main character except during a few key points which are usually underwhelming.
Don't expect a plot. Expect waxing poetic on the joys of motherhood -- in this case -- and the vague fears and growing terror as expectant mothers are being taken away. This is terrifying, of course, and I would have loved to read a whole novel from a PoV that actively tries to resolve, act, or fight this trend. Or even a PoV that was one of the religious nutters that brought about the end of the world only to redeem themselves by fighting for the opposition of reason. But no. We are subjected to staying at home, staying out of sight, and our big mistakes are always preventable and the results are always predictable. But that's just plot.
Fans of this kind of novel will throw out plot entirely and just wax poetic on the lyrical (somewhat) language and the deep HUMANITY even while everyone else seems to lose their own humanity. Except for the post office. The post office was pretty heroic. But if you're stuck at home and the only kind of outside contact you ever get is from the postman, I suppose that makes perfect sense. After all, there are few choices when it comes to heroes.
Her man ... was rather one-dimensional. The feminist take on this entire story was quite predictable. Men did not have any choice in anything. They were either there to protect (or fail to protect) women, provide for them, or fail them. So, there's that. All intellectual thought or discussion came from only within our main female's brain and her uber-focus on the child in her belly that might destroy her life.
It may be, at this point in my life, I'm tired of just hearing stories of the womb. We hear a lot about humanizing women but when I read books like this, there's absolutely nothing done about humanizing men. There's no balance. There's not even a resolution with the overstory or the SF dystopic setting. Both men and women brought THAT world about together. The medical parts, the whole devolution bits? I thought it was done a lot better in Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio. That book was TERRIFYING.
This one just rambled and went nowhere.
Sorry, LitSF fans! I guess I'm not that much of a fan.
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