One of the books I have been most excited about this year is the latest from the fabulous American writer, Louise Erdrich.
Her new novel, Future Home of The Living God, released this week, is a brilliant and deeply affecting new work. Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels and the winner of the US National Book Award for both The Round House and La Rose, which was also a favourite of the ABC TV’s Book Club panel last year.
The Guardian newspaper has described her as one of the greatest living American authors and she is also a wonderful independent bookstore owner, having run Birchbark Books in Minnesota for many years.
I’m a devoted fan of her writing and was intrigued to see the direction she’s taken with this new novel, which again showcases the cleverness of her writing and the importance and timeliness of the themes she’s addressing.
In Future Home of The Living God, she tackles the prescient issues of the control of women’s bodies amidst ever increasing state surveillance and the winding back of women’s rights.
The story follows Cedar Hawk Songmaker, a young Ojibwe woman who begins the search for her birth mother whilst fighting for her own survival and that of her unborn child.
Set amidst a dystopian world where evolution is going backwards, society is fragmenting and pregnant women are being rounded up, the journey Cedar takes is fraught with danger.
Erdrich’s writing is brilliantly paced and the tension she creates is palpable.
The wide circle of Cedar’s family are a fascinating array of characters, rich with their humanness and flaws, with the wounds and decisions of the past ever present and carried along as the drama unfolds.
The book is full of her trademark humour and the power of love and family shine through, as does the themes of survival and intergenerational survival, against all odds.
The novel has already been compared to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and there’s no higher praise as they are two of the absolute best writers out there for me. Whilst the comparison is inevitable it is also true – this is the Handmaid’s Tale for a new generation and I am so pleased that a writer of the calibre of Erdrich has taken the mantle on.
Local author and artist Dean Mobbs has just released his second novel, Dancing On A Pin.
Dean will be launching the book and its accompanying art exhibition this Saturday, 18 November, at his Gallery in Keppel St at 5pm. Copies of his book will be available to purchase at the launch or can also be obtained from BooksPlus in Howick St.