A Children's Bible

A Children's Bible

A Novel

Book - 2020
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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.

Publisher: New York, New York :, W. W. Norton and Company,, ©2020.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781324005032
Branch Call Number: FICTION MIL
Characteristics: 224 pages ; 22 cm

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Wako
Apr 08, 2021

A Children’s Bible follows teenaged protagonists as they face the dangers of a near-apocalyptic climate disaster, their hedonistic and apathetic parents, and the ramifications of both. The work is rich with subtext, with biblical parallels running throughout, yet the story carries enough weight on its own that even if you are biblically illiterate (or just missed the parallels) the message still comes through loud and clear. This is a heavy book; children face real hardship while navigating that liminal space between adolescence and adulthood. Yet ultimately, like many post-apocalyptic stories, it tries to end on a message of hope. However, while the peril and destruction in this story pales compared to that of many other apocalyptic stories, in the end, I found the subtle and ultimately fatalistic weight of Millet’s narrative to negate this message of hope. This is a short, but heavy read, that should be rewarding in rereads (especially once you are keenly aware of the subtextual allusions). Overall, I am not sure how I feel about this one, but it is a story that will haunt me, and one I may return to again.

l
llewol
Feb 13, 2021

This is a short novel and a quick read and I stayed with it to the end. But, in terms of enjoyment there were diminishing returns. The set up was engaging and the young characters interesting. The adults, all grouped together as "the parents" did not distinguish themselves, which was absolutely bthe intent of the author. So, the first third of the novel was quite good. As the crisis points emerged, the plot went down a well worn road, but stayed interesting enough, with a few points of originality. In order to drive the plot, the parents in the book had to be completely hapless and irresponsible, which was a bit of a stretch given that they were all supposed to be educated professionals, but if read as more of a fable, it was fine. The last third of the novel, though, was a letdown. It was almost as if the author had painted herself into a corner and had no place left to go. The twists and turns became increasingly unbelievable; two whole new groups of characters, who were as undistinguished as the parents, show up; and even a touch of the supernatural gets thrown in. The biblical metaphor is sketchy at the best of times and gets abandoned at various points. At the very end, the moral of the story is too heavy-handed and it all collapses. I'm not sorry I read it - I just wish it could have been better.

LPL_SarahM Jan 31, 2021

Precocious kids with drunken parents, a horrible storm, a baby born in a barn and a crucifixion with a staple gun... This is just a smattering of what you'll find in the pages of A Children's Bible. As I closed this book I said out loud (to no one but myself), "Well, that was the strangest thing I've read in a while." A friend described it as "Lord of the Flies meets The Book of Revelation." I can't think of a better description than that!

r
ReadItOutLoud
Jan 11, 2021

A multi-family vacation takes an un-expected turn for the worse. This story is told by one teenage narrator whose disillusionment with her parents and their friends so called lifestyle choices is both funny and sometimes piercingly accurate. Middle age is not pretty but especially to a teenager. Furthermore the lack of action by all the adults of the world has led this group of youths into an apocalyptic scenario for which they will need all the survival skills they were never given. You will like this is you enjoy a character driven story with intense and dramatic plot lines. Dialogue is sometimes awkward and some of the plot is somewhat predictable (this is on purpose - a foreshadowing- like the title suggests).

l
lisser
Aug 09, 2020

This was recommended to me because I like books that are very different. I liked this book but wanted more from it. The ending felt abrupt. I came away with more questions than I thought possible. It was too short but if you like obscure fiction, give it a chance.

d
DrTeva
Jul 02, 2020

A dystopian "Lord of the Flies" for the global warming era. Odd but interesting.

k
krsbozo
Jun 17, 2020

A funny and dark view of the world through the eyes of teenagers. Has elements of magical realism or surrealism, but also some moments of terror and a fair amount of dark humor. The connections to the stories in the Bible make it symbolic and delicious. The fact that the parents are all feckless, spineless, and flabby-butted... well, that's pretty accurate. The kids don't save the world, but they figure out how to live in it without their worthless parents, I guess. The future looks bleak, which also seems accurate.

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