Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Rapture

The Rapture
Author: Liz Jensen
Doubleday, 2009
304 pages

Since the world's gonna end on May 21, I thought I should read this book before it all goes haywire. This end times-themed novel by English author Liz Jensen is set sometime in the not-too-distant future. Gabrielle Fox, an art therapist at a psychiatric hospital in England, is assigned to work with sixteen year-old Bethany Krall after Bethany's therapist takes a mysterious leave of absence. Gabrielle has struggles of her own; she's a survivor of a car crash that killed her married lover and left her paralyzed from the waist down. She's vulnerable and depressed, but trying to hide it, since she has to work in order to support herself.

Bethany's in the facility because she brutally stabbed her own mother to death. Complicated and narcissistic, Bethany grew up in a strict religious household; her father is a well-known Evangelical preacher who believes she's possessed by the devil. There's been a spike in religious fervor all around the world, perhaps a result of increasing ecological and weather disasters. When Bethany claims that the world's about to end and brags that she can predict hurricanes and earthquakes, Gabrielle doesn't pay much attention at first. But when it becomes clear that a pattern is in force, Gabrielle turns to a new friend, Scottish physicist Frazer Melville.

I don't know if I've grabbed your attention yet, but this is a pretty interesting story. If you like "scientific" thrillers, if you like sitting on the edge of your seat while you read, if you like it when your eyes are ten words (or more) ahead of your brain, then you'll want to read this. Although it was just a teensy bit slow in the beginning, the last half to one-third of it leaves you breathless. In fact, I told S that it hooked me in a way sort of like The Da Vinci Code did many years ago. Will there be a sequel? I guess we'll have to wait and see.