The story of Ceder Songmaker, a young pregnant woman, is told in a series of frantic journal entries. The world she lives in, a few years away from our own, is falling apart. For reasons unknown, evolution has changed course: birds are becoming lizards, insects grow to the size of cats, and almost all pregnant women are delivering stillborn babies. The government has collapsed, and pregnant women are being rounded up in a desperate attempt to find women who can give birth to healthy babies. Cedar decides to find her biological parents, who join her adoptive parents in an effort to hide her and keep her safe. Meanwhile, her unborn child grows within her, their fates unknown.
Author Louise Erdrich brings to life a bizarre, hallucinatory vision of the future, with no explanations offered. Evolution works of its own accord, with no clear trajectory. Motherhood too is its own world with primal forces as old as time. Erdrich creates vivid characters maneuvering in a world gone mad. Although the lack of answers may frustrate some readers, the novel succeeds in its portrayal of just how fragile our society and systems of order are. What remains is life remade in an image we may or may not recognize.
Reviewed by Kalum Meyers, Zauel Library