cover image The Book of Flora

The Book of Flora

Meg Elison. 47North, $14.95 trade paper (369p) ISBN 978-1-5420-4209-3

This grim, poetic conclusion to Elison’s postapocalyptic Road to Nowhere trilogy widens its scope from reproductive rights to gender binaries and the consequences of stories. Forty years after the events of The Book of Etta, the Bambritch Island community trembles on the brink of invasion. Amidst the slow-gathering siege, Flora, a silk thrower and former slave turned slaver’s apprentice, records her travels across Elison’s now-familiar postplague landscape, journeying from an underground matriarchal Mormon town to Shy, a glittering women-only city with dark foundations, and the Alexandria, a warship crewed by librarians. Most importantly, she details her adoption of enslaved child Connie, an act with far-ranging consequences. Though the pace sometimes lags, Elison balances complex protagonists with the slow mythologizing of their stories. As prophecies and worldviews go to war, Flora’s elegiac statement that “only what is remembered survives” takes on additional relevance. This slow novel builds into an urgent, ferociously readable warning about the power of belief to maim—or heal. Readers will find this a powerful conclusion to a fascinating series. Agent: Danielle Svetcov, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Apr.)