Today in the ArtZany! Radio studio Paula Granquist welcomes Northfield author Kaethe Schwehn. She will discuss her new novel The Rending and the Nest.
The Rending and the Nest
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.
“This absorbing debut novel . . . offers a world that is intensely familiar yet strange . . . Schwehn’s narrator establishes her place among post-apocalyptic heroines through her willingness to remake the world from what she has left and her unlikely arrival at hope.” –Kirkus Reviews
Kaethe Schwehn is the author of The Rending and the Nest, Tailings: A Memoir, and Tanka & Me. She is the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts. Her poems and prose can be found in journals such as Crazyhorse, Pleiades, jubilat, Witness, Minnesota Review and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. She has been the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net Anthology award. She is also a winner of the Northfield Sidewalk Poetry Competition. She teaches at St. Olaf College and lives in Northfield, Minnesota.