Books Read in 2014 – 46. The Rapture – Liz Jensen

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2014tbrbuttonGenre: Madness, Dystopia

Narrative Style: First Person, Chronological

Rating:4/5download (13)

Published: 2009

Format: Paperback

Synopsis: When Gabrielle Fox starts work at a secure psychiatric unit for teenagers, her main concern is coming to terms with her paralysis following a horrific accident. She is understandably vulnerable so that when she meets Bethany, a crazed adolescent who killed her own mother and has visions of an apocalyptic nature, she starts to wonder whether the visions could have some truth to them. 

Reading Challanges: The TBR Challenge.

Time on Shelf. Two years. No reason, just kept slipping to the bottom of the pile. 

I love a good thriller and apocalyptic fiction is always good for that. In that respect, this certainly did not disappoint. It was a roller-coaster ride from the very first moment that Bethany and Gabrielle met. Bethany senses an unique audience in Gabrielle, due to her own vulnerabilities and it isn’t long before Gabrielle is taking the girl’s visions seriously.

It was easy to suspend my disbelief and Gabrielle’s own sense of the ridiculousness of believing Bethany is quite acute. As events progress, there is barely time to draw breath, never mind doubt what is happening. Jensen draws parallels between religion and the notion of the Rapture and believing in Bethany’s more disturbing vision of the future and suggests neither is more ridiculous than the other.

The characters were well drawn. Gabrielle as the destroyed woman, grieving for the use of her legs and the man she lost in the accident is full of insecurities that were easy to relate to. Bethany was at times monstrous but at others sympathetic. The romance between Gabrielle and the physicist that she takes Bethany’s drawings to was convincing and sexy. I’ve never been quite so relieved to discover that a man wasn’t cheating as when he revealed that the subterfuge had been for a completely different reason than Gabrielle had assumed.

The ending is brilliant – a clever take on the Rapture that everyone in the novel is waiting for – but it is also depressing. And, of course, this is as it should be. I’d have been disappointed with anything else but at the same time I longed for things to be different for them.

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