Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction
One of the New York Times' Ten Best Books of the Year
Named one of the best novels of the year by Time, Washington Post, NPR, Chicago Tribune, Esquire, BBC, and many others
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Plenty of children daydream about running the world themselves, but there’s a big difference between fantasy and reality. When Evie and her little brother Jack join their parents and several other families at a seaside vacation house, all the parents get drunk or stoned, leaving 12 youngsters to entertain themselves. But when a powerful hurricane approaches, the kids’ mini-society takes on real-world consequences, with Evie assuming a staggering new level of responsibility for her young, curious sibling. Acclaimed novelist Lydia Millet steers this pointed tale from black humor to sheer terror, subtly shaping the children’s frightening journey into a witty allegory about climate change and societal unrest. Millet uses utterly believable teenspeak and the parables of Jack’s beloved children’s Bible to illuminate truths about the world today’s young people have inherited. Unfolding at a mesmerizing pace, this book is chilling, haunting, and beguiling.
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A Children’s Bible
What do the end times look like for the comfortable classes? You’ve got the degrees and the esteemed, intellectual career, done everything right in life. Why not ride out the storm in a vacation rental with similarly cultured friends? You’ve limitted the kid’s screen time and they are outside, enganging in un-helicoptered, imaginative play while you dutifully swallow your anti-depressants with a glass of wine. But the flood can’t be contained, and the kids have realized that in giving them everything there’s just one thing you’ve forgotten to take care of… the future. This isn’t just THE Covid-19 read, it defines the impotent generation we have become, and the children who must imagine a hope sans humanity itself.