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A Children's Bible: A Novel (Paperback)
One day, if 21st Century America is excavated for clues to its decline, analysts will find that much of their work has been explained for them––if they are lucky enough to find Lydia Millet’s scathing novel as an artifact of this era. A large summer gathering of families leads to a generational divide in which the children seek to live entirely separate from their parents and deny their relationship to them. The parents' hedonistic holiday in the face of ignored climate change and nature itself lays bare their own decadence and complacency; yet the crisis is existential to the children who try to navigate a world ravaged by weather events, felled by a virus (not airborne!), and endangered by an unraveled society turned both cruel and violent. This wonderfully devastating novel is filled with dark humor while also exploring human frailty as well as art, science, and invention in hard times.— Will
May 2020 Indie Next List
“In A Children’s Bible, the age-old war between kids and their parents, children and adults, is reimagined through the lens of Biblical devastation. The result is harrowing and, in unexpected moments, hilarious. Millet has created a story that feels both folkloric and brand new, a tale as much about environmental cataclysm as it is about fighting for the people, things, and ideas that remain right and true, no matter how high the water gets. I love Millet’s perfectly tuned sentences as much as the ambition of this novel, which I’ll continue thinking about for a long time.”
— Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books, Birmingham, AL
Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction
One of the New York Times' Ten Best Books of the Year
Named one of the best novels of the year by Time, Washington Post, NPR, Chicago Tribune, Esquire, BBC, and many others
"A blistering little classic." —Ron Charles, Washington Post
A Children’s Bible follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their parents, the children decide to run away when a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, embarking on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside. Lydia Millet’s prophetic and heartbreaking story of generational divide offers a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation.
About the Author
Lydia Millet has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.
This superb novel begins as a generational comedy…and turns steadily darker…[I]n this time of great upheaval, [Lydia Millet] implies, our foundational myths take on new meaning and hope.
— New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice
With this slim yet potent book, [Millet] shows it is even possible to coax pleasure and beauty from the uncomfortable work of highlighting unfortunate truths.
— Emily Bobrow - Wall Street Journal
[A] story that explores how alarming and baffling it feels to endure the destruction of one’s world.
— Ron Charles - Washington Post
[A] prime example of that rare and precious thing: a funny dystopia.
— Molly Young - New York
A dystopian novel of great power.
— Adam Begley - Sunday Times
Darkly funny and painfully sharp.
— Carolyn Kellogg - Los Angeles Times
[Lydia] Millet mordantly captures the complacency of older generations in the face of apocalypse, and the righteous anger, endurance, and practicality of the young.
— The New Yorker
With brilliant restraint, Millet conceives her own low-key ‘bible.’…It’s a tale in which whoever or whatever comes after us might recognize, however imperfectly, a certain continuity: an exotic but still decodable shred of evidence from the lost world that is the world we are living in right now.
— Jonathan Dee - New York Times Book Review
Lydia Millet has given us a compellingly written, compact, slyly funny novel that warns of the catastrophic events that may overwhelm us. Unless.
— Jeffrey Ann Goudie - Boston Globe
A Children’s Bible is a…book that’s easy to enter fully (and not quite as easy to exit; you might have bad dreams)…Millet’s writing is spare but textured. There’s genuine feeling here, and humor, too…I loved the imagination of this book, the way it gracefully—as the title implies—tackles the divine.
— Rumaan Alam - New Republic
Millet's take on eco-catastrophe is slyly off-kilter in this novel about kids left to fend for themselves as society unravels.
— Elizabeth Kolbert - The Week