Book review: In 'Here Lies,' a daughter seeks to fulfill her mother's last wish

Contributed Photo by Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services / Olivia Clare Friedman

"HERE LIES" by Olivia Clare Friedman (Grove Press, 208 pages, $24).

"Before I began, I loved her. This was what I knew. Before bones and blood and body, before egg."

In the opening line of her debut novel, "Here Lies," Olivia Clare Friedman captures an emotion that is both foundational and indefinable, a feeling so primordial it predates our own memory of existence: a child's love for a parent. Friedman explores this love with power and insight.

The year is 2042 in St. Genevieve, Louisiana, and Alma Guidry has lost everything. Her mother Naomi is dead, and neither her body nor her cremains can be accessed. All burial rights in the U.S. have been removed due to the effects of climate change, and only under the most extreme circumstances can individuals acquire a loved one's urn and ashes.