Sunday, August 22, 2010

"The Rapture"

By Liz Jensen
ISBN No. 978-0-385-66702-9
With a lot of books a reviewer writes about what the book is about. With “The Rapture” it’s more appropriate to talk about what the book is “like.” With its flawed and haunted psychotherapist, Gabrielle, there are echoes of the young priest in “The Exorcist”. With the mother-murdering, disaster-predicting teenager under Gabrielle’s care, Bethany, there are echoes of, well, the young girl in “The Exorcist”. And if the comparison seems both flattering and simplistic, that’s intentional. That book, Pauline Kael said, “is a manual of lurid crimes, written in an a easy-to-read tough-guy style yet with a grating heightening word here and there, supposedly to tone it up.” She could just as easily been talking about the first line of “The Rapture”: “That summer, the summer all the rules began to change. June seemed to last for a thousand years.” There’s isn’t much else I can reveal without revealing too much but suffice to say that from there it all goes downhill; into horror, the folly of science to explain the unexplainable and then the redemptive minor hopeful uplift at the story’s end. As a formula, “The Rapture” has a lot going for it. And as a publishing event it hopefully marks the splintering of the audience of vampire books into a readership of more complex fiction.