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A Children's Bible

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A Children's Bible

Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction

One of the New York Times' Ten Best Books of the Year

One of Time's Ten Best Novels of 2020

A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of 2020

Bookseller Recommendation

If you enjoyed Severance, then you’ll love A Children's Bible.

“I only learned after finishing A Children’s Bible that Lydia Millet has a masters degree in environmental policy and has worked as a writer for the Center for Biological Diversity since 1999. It goes a long way to explain why, of all of the apocalyptic novels I’ve read of late, this one felt so crushingly real (in spite of a few fantastical flourishes). She clearly knows the science, but above that, she knows humanity, for better or worse. A Children’s Bible reads like an oral history of the apocalypse, from the point of view of the children who take matters into their own hands after their parents fail them, in both grandly metaphorical and smaller, literal ways. The Bible metaphor works well as a title for this book, this being the Book of Evie. Except the Book of Evie does not come after Genesis, but after Revelations, and it's a response to the adults who looked away and hoped someone else would fix everything for the next generation. A Children's Bible is a masterful novel: darkly humorous and unsparing in its wisdom. In a year of some really fantastic books, this one is my favorite.”

The Book Table image Rachel , The Book Table


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.

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“For a while the novel sustains a deceptively timeless, children’s-treasury vibe ... The setting—a massive summer house, with multiple families vacationing in it—calls to mind that of Susan Minot’s novel Monkeys turned to account as metaphor ... There’s a birth in a barn, a plague, a Moses, a Cain and an Abel, even a crucifixion. But part of the novel’s genius is that these allusions never really lead anywhere ... The allusions aren’t symbols or clues; they’re just faint echoes, like puzzle pieces too few to fit together ... With brilliant restraint, Millet conceives her own low-key 'bible' ... It’s a tale in which whoever or whatever comes after us might recognize, however imperfectly, a certain continuity: an exotic but still decodable shred of evidence from the lost world that is the world we are living in right now.”

Jonathan Dee, New York Times Book Review, author of The Locals, A Thousand Pardons and The Privileges.


About the author

Lydia Millet has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of My Happy Life, Fight No More, Sweet Lamb of Heaven, Mermaids in Paradise, Pills and Starships and Magnificence. Her books have been shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and longlisted for the National Book Award. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.


“To call it a generational allegory seems like an understatement. Millet is one of the most fascinating novelists working. ”

Wall Street Journal Magazine

Children’s Bible gains strength from its contradictions. It is hilarious yet tender; absurd yet chillingly realistic, nostalgic yet prescient. ”

Halimah Marcus , Electric Lit

“[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, Washington Post

“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.”

New York Times Book Review

“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, Kirkus Reviews

“Millet mordantly captures the complacency of older generations in the face of apocalypse, and the righteous anger, endurance, and practicality of the young.”

New Yorker

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