The debut novel from the “Munro-esque” (Houston Post) author of Disasters in the First World, Here Lies is Olivia Clare Friedman’s visceral and portentous look at mourning, memory, and motherhood in an alternate Louisiana ravaged by climate change.
Louisiana, 2042. Spurred by the effects of climate change, states have closed graveyards and banned burials, making cremation mandatory and the ashes of loved ones state-owned unless otherwise claimed. In the small town of St. Genevieve, Alma lives alone and struggles to grieve in the wake of her young mother Naomi’s death, during which Alma failed to honor Naomi’s final wishes. Now, Alma decides to fight to reclaim Naomi’s ashes, a journey of unburial that will bring into her life a mysterious and fiercely loyal stranger, Bordelon, who appears in St. Genevieve after a storm, as well as a group of strong, rebellious local women who, together, teach Alma anew the meaning of family and strength.
With poignance, poeticism, and deep insight in Here Lies, Olivia Clare Friedman gives us a stunning portrait of motherhood, friendship, and humanity in an alternate American South torn asunder by global warming. This is a stunning first novel from a unique and inventive writer.
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About the Author
Olivia Clare Friedman is the author of the story collection Disasters in the First World and a poetry collection The 26-Hour Day. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The O. Henry Prize Stories, Granta, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, among other publications. Raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she teaches Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she holds the title of Nina Bell Suggs Endowed Professor.