“In this feverish cautionary tale, Erdrich enters the realm of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale . . . A tornadic, suspenseful, profoundly provoking novel of life’s vulnerability and insistence.”



This is the story of Cedar Hawk Songmaker, a Native American young woman who has been adopted by a white couple that live in Minneapolis. Evolution seems to be reversing itself at the beginning of the story, and many of the babies being born are just like the babies at the dawn of man, leading to high death rates for both mother and child.

For some reason the Government has fallen apart, crops are not growing properly and local groups are running things in their particular area.

These groups which seem to be modeled on the religious right are rounding up all pregnant woman, keeping them hostage until they give birth. Cedar will find her birth mother on the reservation and then the story becomes one of hiding Cedar from the authorities. The authors last two novels won a National Book Award (The Roundhouse) and a National Book Critics Circle Award (La Rose) but this book is a very different effort from these works and I must admit I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as her last two. But, Ms. Erdrich is still good enough to make her story an interesting read.

Her fans will like it, unless you have grown tired of post apocalyptic novels, of which this book would clearly fall in that category. Still, I have to recommend it.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 22nd December 2017

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Richard Franco