A Children's Bible: A Novel (Hardcover)
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
Longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction
An indelible novel of teenage alienation and adult complacency in an unraveling world.
Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel—her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven—follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion.
Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders—including Eve, who narrates the story—decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside.
As the scenes of devastation begin to mimic events in the dog-eared picture Bible carried around by her beloved little brother, Eve devotes herself to keeping him safe from harm.
A Children’s Bible is a prophetic, heartbreaking story of generational divide—and a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation.
About the Author
Lydia Millet has written twelve works of fiction. She has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her books have been longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and named as New York Times Notable Books. Her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.
[A] blistering little classic…Millet’s wit and her penchant for strange twists produce the kind of climate fiction we need: a novel that moves beyond the realm of reporting and editorial, a story that explores how alarming and baffling it feels to endure the destruction of one’s world. Take this book, eat it up.
— Ron Charles
This superb novel begins as a generational comedy...and turns steadily darker, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. But Millet’s light touch never falters; in this time of great upheaval, she implies, our foundational myths take on new meaning and hope.
To call it a generational allegory seems like an understatement. Millet is one of the most fascinating novelists working.
[D]arkly funny and painfully sharp.
— Carolyn Kellogg
Millet mordantly captures the complacency of older generations in the face of apocalypse, and the righteous anger, endurance, and practicality of the young.
[C]ompellingly written, compact [and] slyly funny.
— Jeffrey Ann Goldie
An American chaos story about a climate-changed future…A Children’s Bible gains strength from its contradictions. It is hilarious yet tender; absurd yet chillingly realistic, nostalgic yet prescient.
— Halimah Marcus
[A] tense, prophetic…[and] gripping page-turner.
— Donna Bettencourt
As bewitching, unflinching, wry, and profoundly attuned to the state of the planet as ever, supremely gifted Millet tells a commanding and wrenching tale of cataclysmic change and what it will take to survive.
— Donna Seaman
Eco-fiction dystopias often make our climate future outright calamities of tidal waves and massive tree die-offs. Millet…knows what’s coming is likely to be more subtle, and the slow-motion collapse she imagines in her latest novel is what makes it so harrowing.
— Mark Athitakis
If you think it’s hard to find original voices in contemporary fiction, you’re not really reading properly—Millet is one such voice: comic, erudite, humane.
— Jonny Diamond