Erdrich is an accomplished writer, but this 2017 SF story doesn’t work for me. The key plot devices, evolution regressing and because of the resulting dearth of healthy human babies an overnight Handmaids Tale theocracy that is somehow both very splintered and very powerful both never get any explanation at all, hardly play a role even except as background. One scene involving rats also serves no purpose in the narrative, other than a weird side step into horror or something. The story itself about a woman’s autonomy, identity and cultural roots would have worked without such devices too. Now it just is an implausible story and suspension of disbelief never kicks in.

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