Critics Divided on Future Home of the Living God | Book Pulse

Review Round-Up

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (Harper: HarperCollins) is getting focused attention and a wide range of mixed reviews. See yesterday’s post for the split between The Washington Post and USA Today. Among the new reviews, Dwight Garner weighs in for the NYT. He calls it “a feverish and somewhat feeble novel. Erdrich’s heart isn’t really in her dystopian visions, and this novel’s scenes of chases and escapes are hokey and feel derived from films.” Yet he finds some parts to praise, “The funny thing about this not-very-good novel is that there are so many good small things in it.”

NPR reviews the novel twice, illustrating the split in critical takes. Joining the crowd of less than impressed reviewers, Michael Schaub says it is “an overreaching, frequently bizarre book that never really comes close to getting off the ground.” But Maureen Corrigan of NPR’s Fresh Air finds it much more to her liking, calling it a ” tense and lyrical…streamlined dystopian thriller” and saying “Erdrich has been edging over into literary suspense and, boy, does her achieved mastery of pacing, cliffhangers and depictions of physical violence come in handy here.” Her review has pushed up sales.

LitHub is keeping a count of where the reviews fall.

Briefly Noted

In the run-up to Thanksgiving, the NYT asks writers to reflect. Viet Thanh Nguyen, Emma Cline, Jessica B. Harris, Elliot Ackerman, and Masha Gessen do so.

The Washington Post asks, about Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali (Other Press), “Why is this Turkish novel from the 1940s selling 1 million copies today?

They also offer a list of three of the “Best science fiction and fantasy books to read this month” and decide that Kenneth Branagh’s audio narration of Murder on the Orient Express is better than his movie. As part of that article, they weigh in on two additional audiobooks, The Book of Dust (Listening Library: Random House) and Uncommon Type: Some Stories (Books on Tape).

NPR reviews Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Bloomsbury Circus: Macmillan). The Salt interviews Jon Bonné, The New Rules of Wine (Ten Speed: Random House). The film Mudbound (adapted form the novel of the same name) also features on Fresh Air and NPR’s Monkey See offers a few ideas to Amazon as it considers what to do with Lord of the Rings.

Entertainment Weekly offers outtakes from Tina Brown’s The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 (Henry Holt: Macmillan), including that Michael Jackson read O Henry and Frank O’Hara in his hotel room after his shows. The magazine also interviews Lauren Groff about her June 2018 story collection, Florida (Riverhead: Penguin), and counts down “The 10 Best Agatha Christie Adaptations.”

The Atlantic reviews The Odyssey by Homer; translated by Emily Wilson (W.W. Norton). Wilson is the first woman to publish an English translation of the epic poem. The Guardian has more and Wilson will be featured on the next episode of Slate’s Culture Fest.

Slate reviews Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett (FSG: Macmillan).

Musician and poet Jhené Aiko has over a million followers on Twitter. They are helping her new book, 2Fish (Ulysses Press), which comes out in mid-December, surge.

People features Jenna Fischer, author of The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide (BenBella Books).

Book fairies, calling themselves “tiny little librarians,” hit Seattle, Portland and cities in CA, leaving copies of Rachel Linden’s Ascension of Larks (Thomas Nelson: HarperCollins) (LJ starred).

Two books on the Trump administration are forthcoming. The NYT reports Jeffrey Toobin will write a book on “special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials in an attempt to skew election results.” It is early days yet for the project and a pub date has yet to be set. Michael Wolff will publish Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Henry Holt: Macmillan) on Jan. 9. It will cover the first year of Trump’s tenure and is reportedly based on more than 200 interviews, including many White House staff members.

Brian Michael Bendis left Marvel Comics for DC Comics because of the Cleveland Public Library.

Harper’s Bazaar features Roxane Gay.

USA Today talks tech with Andy Weir.

The lawyer who defended Penguin Books in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial has died at age 102.

Authors on Air: The editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night, giving his book, Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations (Simon & Schuster) a big push.

Award Note: The NBAs will be announced tonight, in a ceremony starting at 7:20 p.m. (EST).

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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at

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