August 13, 2009

The Rapture by Liz Jensen

I had a hard time piecing together a review for Liz Jensen’s The Rapture, an apocalyptic eco-thriller. Though I found the book hard to put down, I also found aspects of it irritating. The story centers around a therapist, Gabrielle, assigned to treat a young murderess, Bethany, and things begin to get interesting after the patient begins to have alarmingly detailed visions of natural disasters--all of which come true.

The story begins as a creepy religious thriller set in a psychiatric facility, so much so that the back of the book bills it as The Left Behind series meets Girl, Interrupted, but to represent this book as anything other then an eco-thriller or even a political suspense novel would be misleading. There are (improbable) scientific explanations for nearly everything. It also took longer then usual for this book to hook me. Jensen does give us detailed accounts of almost everything—down to the smallest details of a throw away scene or action. The result is a lot of stalled action. My other bone of contention lies with the portrayal of Christians themselves. Jensen colors them as irrational fanatics to the point where they become as threatening as a looming tsunami. The inclusion of one sane Christian in the face of so many religious radicals would have been appreciated.

The only reason I was pulled into this book at all was the inspired narrative voice of Gabrielle Fox. Gabrielle is a scientist recovering from a personal tragedy that unsurprisingly gave her a huge crisis of faith. Recently paralyzed her new view of the world forces her to question and mistrust everything around her. Her compelling and skewed view of events saves the novel and perhaps the world.

1 comment:

  1. Good review! It can be hard to write about difficult books, but you really give a clear picture of what to expect. Sounds like an interesting read, but tough.


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