A slightly different genre for my next RIP VI read, The Rapture is a described as a psychological thriller; now I’ve never been entirely sure what that means, but I can certainly say that this was thriller of the “will it all really happen the way she predicted kind”, with a world potentially on the brink of catastrophic disaster and only the delusions and/or predictions of a murderous teenager in an institution to warn us of what is to come.
What I don’t think it is is a “haunting story of human passion and burning faith” as it says on the back cover; it has elements of both of those things, yes, but this is more a 2012 ecological end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story, albeit much less silly than that particular film (and you can find out what I thought about that here.) And my disgruntlement with the world of the blurb-writer goes on…..
So we have Bethany, incarcerated in a facility for the disturbed because of the brutal murder of her mother a few years before. We have Gabrielle, confined to a wheelchair after a car accident, trying to rebuild her career as a therapist. We have Fraser, a scientist who gets drawn into the story when he helps Gabrielle investigate the predictions Bethany has been making and which certainly seem to be coming true. But are they true or is everyone being drawn into Bethany’s delusions as has happened before?
There is evangelical religion in the form of Bethany’s father; what role did that play in how she is now? There are Gabrielle’s trust issues as she struggles to come to terms with her situation. There is romance and distrust and skullduggery, but most of all there is freak weather, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and at this point I want to start quoting Bill Murray from Ghostbusters when he’s trying to convince the mayor to let them sort out the Big Bad.
And that would be really unfair.
Because although this novel strays into soap-opera-ish melodrama on more than one occasion it does have serious stuff to say about how we manage our planet and the dangers of some forms of extreme religion when faced with real and practical problems. And the author doesn’t dwell on the disasters more than is necessary to give us a sense of scale and to give our heroes a real dilemma to deal with – if you think you know something terrible is going to happen but your source is frankly unbelievable and talking about it could ruin your career do you still have a moral obligation to take action?
I enjoyed this in a potboilery way, it moved along at a fair clip and I was interested in what would happen to the characters and how the scenario would play out. I’m still not sure whether I really liked any of the characters, but let’s face it, we weren’t really seeing them at their best.
This was my fourth read for the RIP VI challenge, and there is more than enough peril in this book for most readers.