Olivia Clare Friedman's debut novel Here Lies is spectacular. This southern speculative fiction is based in swampy, humid Louisiana and it's the perfect setting for a book centered on the devastating effects of climate change and the draconian measures the government has enacted. Alma and Bordelon have suffered so much loss and are drowning in grief. Their accidental friendship helps them survive and punctures loneliness. This is a book about making the family you need, trusting people, and learning that tending the earth can be a balm.— Rachel Watkins
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.