The rending and the nest A novel

Kaethe Schwehn

Book - 2018

"When ninety-five percent of the world's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: she cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion. Four years after the Rending, Mira has everything under control - almost. Soon women of Zion are giving birth to an inanimate object - and the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new world begins to fray. Mira has to decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save... her community and her own fraught pregnancy." --

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Subjects
Genres
Apocalyptic fiction
Fantasy fiction
Science fiction
Published
New York : Bloomsbury 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
294 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781632869722
1632869721
9781635571943
1635571944
9781632869739
163286973X
Main Author
Kaethe Schwehn (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In Schwehn's unsettling, postapocalyptic page-turner, Mira is 17 years old when the Rending happens and 95 percent of the world's population disappears with no explanation. Four years later, she has helped cobble together a semblance of normalcy in a community known as Zion, where she works as a scavenger of the Piles, looking for supplies. When Mira's best friend, Lana, gives birth to an inanimate object, any facade of normalcy falls away and is further disrupted by the appearance of a manipulative outsider who convinces Lana to return to his home, the Zoo, where people, not animals, now live in the enclosures, and others obsessively monitor them for signs about the Rending. Schwehn has created an intriguing and bizarre world where there are no easy answers. Because so much is unknown, readers will race to find out just what is happening and what it all means. Though the ending is a bit abrupt and characters could be better developed, the entertainment value is high, and those looking for a new dystopian world will be pleased. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In an instant, a single moment in an ordinary day, The Rending changed the world. Most of Earth's people and animals vanished, buildings lacked walls or windows, and only a random lack of order remained. Three years later, the people of Zion have formed a stable community with both freedom and boundaries but little hope. Mira scavenges The Piles, giant mounds of material possessions that appeared across the landscape after The Rending, doing her best to support her community. She has friends in Zion but keeps an emotional distance from everyone, including Rodney, her secret love. Life becomes a tolerable routine, until Mira's friend Lana becomes pregnant and gives birth to a plastic doll. Soon other women in Zion give birth to inanimate objects, marking the first significant change since The Rending. Once word of the births spreads, outsider Michael appears in Zion and lures Lana away, bringing an end to Mira's tenuously held normalcy. VERDICT Schwehn (Tailings: A Memoir) has created a postapocalyptic world in which why is not the main question. The Rending happened; accepting that is the first step toward recovery for the novel's multidimensional characters. This beautifully written story begs to be read again.—Jennifer Beach, Longwood Univ. Lib., Farmville, VA Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Schwehn's bizarre novel blends seamless storytelling with the raw emotion of a world suddenly turned on its head. After an unexplained "Rending" causes 95 percent of the world's population to disappear, 20-year-old Mira is living in a Midwestern refugee settlement called Zion. A temperate climate, grey skies, and huge piles of objects that people scavenge for supplies replace the world they knew. Mira's friend Lana is the first pregnant resident, and when her baby is born a doll rather than a human, the community is disturbed. More pregnant women give birth to more objects (birds, chopsticks), which provoke conflicted feelings of attachment and revulsion in them. It's only when Mira makes a place for the objects to rest, a Nest for each, that the mothers snap out of their attachments to the objects. At the end of their fifth year in Zion, a visitor named Michael arrives, bringing with him a mysterious confidence that hypnotizes many Zionites, especially Lana. The story culminates in a riveting rescue mission. Schwehn's novel is nerve-wracking in the most satisfying way, and the characters are vivid enough to elevate this story above the well-traveled terrain of postapocalyptic fiction. (Feb.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Surviving in a cobbled-together community called Zion after 95% of the earth’s population has disappeared, Mira is shocked when an outsider arrives and lures her best friend away with tales about the wonders of the world beyond.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Surviving in a cobbled-together community called Zion after ninety-five percent of the Earth's population has disappeared, Mira is shocked when an outsider arrives and lures her best friend away with tales about the wonders of the world beyond.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one’s own story.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one's own story.When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost. Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object--and other women of Zion follow suit--the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.Like California by Edan Lepucki and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Rending and the Nest uses a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape to ask decidedly human questions: How well do we know the people we love? What sustains us in the midst of suffering? How do we forgive the brokenness we find within others--and within ourselves?