This is book three in The Road to Nowhere series, published by 47North. Release date is April 23, 2019. I’m a huge fangirl of this series and of Meg Elison, so I feel like I have been waiting on this book for a short eternity. I loved Flora in the previous installment, The Book of Etta. I have such empathy for her character and she has a melancholy vibe in this. I feel like her heart is miles wide, but she never gets the true intimate love she is craving, whether in a lover, parental figure, or from a child. Her love ultimately is remembering and writing her story and being there for the people she loves.
The story unfolds in multiple ways. There are journal-like entries from her own story, a new story told from the city she lives in as an older woman that is more of the present time, and then we see some flashbacks, including returning to Alma and the mish at Ommun (the Mormon underground city/bunker).
In this one, Flora journeys all over what is left of America. To Florda (Florida), to Shy (Chicago), and all the way back to San Francisco (Midwife’s Bay). I love the weirdness that this series has. There are some bizarre happenings going on. There also might be triggers for child abuse, pedophilia, but the story in no way sensationalizes it. This is still the grim post-apocalyptic world with slavers and men and women being killed and murdered out of hate and bigotry and desperation.
This is still a world where it is very difficult for women to get pregnant and deliver healthy babies and it includes an evolutionary theory that surprised me. Enough time has passed that groups of isolated people have developed their own (sometimes wacky) beliefs about what is reality in the aftermath of the plague.
Etta is back and hard and closed-off as ever. Alice, the beautiful botanist/doctor/herbalist, etc. is back too. There are new characters and the recurring characters are definitely still healing from the events at Estiel with the Lion.
There is a LOT of LGBTQ+ rep here and the author spends a significant amount of time dealing with gender and sexual identity issues that may tax some readers’ patience, but I felt it was done excellently and is a very progressive and pertinent illustration for us today as we expand our understanding (and acceptance!) of gender differences.
Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review!