“Friedman’s poetic novel explores mourning, memory and motherhood in a future Louisiana that has been ravaged by climate change… [The reader] becomes immersed in Friedman’s layered and luscious prose, the vibrant colors of Alma’s world, the flowers so real ‘you could smell their rankness, the air brimming with sweet, candied stink.’ Most captivating, though, is the stillness and quiet — lines that end abruptly and the images that conjure a deafening silence — representations of the graveyards that no longer exist, but whose absence is haunting.”
— Kai Harris, The New York Times Book Review
“A poignant portrait of the way grief can bring people together, uniting even strangers through a common pain and commitment to keep their loved ones alive in memory.”
— Kristen Martin, NPR
“Friedman follows up her lauded short story collection, Disasters in the First World (2017), with a debut novel set in Louisiana in the near future, when burials have been outlawed, and cremated remains have become the property of the state . . . A beautifully told tale of grief and loss made bearable by the unexpected creation of a found family.”
— Kristine Huntley, Booklist
“Illuminating and startling.”
— Publishers Weekly
The debut novel from the "Munro-esque" (Houston Post) author of Disasters in the First World, Here Lies is Olivia Clare Friedman's visceral and portentous look at mourning, memory, and motherhood in an alternate Louisiana ravaged by climate change.
Louisiana, 2042. Spurred by the effects of climate change, states have closed graveyards and banned burials, making cremation mandatory and the ashes of loved ones state-owned unless otherwise claimed. In the small town of St. Genevieve, Alma lives alone and struggles to grieve in the wake of her young mother Naomi's death, during which Alma failed to honor Naomi's final wishes. Now, Alma decides to fight to reclaim Naomi's ashes, a journey of unburial that will bring into her life a mysterious and fiercely loyal stranger, Bordelon, who appears in St. Genevieve after a storm, as well as a group of strong, rebellious local women who, together, teach Alma anew the meaning of family and strength.
With poignance, poeticism, and deep insight in Here Lies, Olivia Clare Friedman gives us a stunning portrait of motherhood, friendship, and humanity in an alternate American South torn asunder by global warming. This is a stunning first novel from a unique and inventive writer.
* Winner of the 2022 Foreword Reviews INDIES Bronze Award
* 2022 Great Group Reads Selection by the Women’s National Book Association
* Longlisted for The Crook's Corner Book Prize
* On The Bitter Southerner's 2022 Summer Reading Roundup
* Southern Review of Books' Best Southern Books of March 2022
* Lit Hub's 14 New Books To Revive Your Reading Life
PRESS AND REVIEWS:
Read the first chapter, "Before," at The Common.
Read another excerpt, the chapter "Myrtle," at LitMag Online.
“HERE LIES is a novel of both big ideas and intimate moments. At the same time speculative and familiar, the book sews patterns of longing and loss into a shape that anyone who has ever needed and found a non-traditional family will recognize and cherish. Like most great books to come out of the South, the relentless skill and grace of the author makes a simple story of Louisiana transcend far beyond its borders. Make no mistake: Olivia Clare Friedman is one of the most singular voices in American literature and this book, like all of her work, belongs in your hands.”
-- M.O. Walsh, New York Times Bestselling author of My Sunshine Away and The Big Door Prize