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The Rapture - Discussion

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After doing the bulk of the reading today I finally finished this and decided to do a review while it's fresh.

It's a novel that weaves several different themes together. We have severe climate change and the science behind it, mental health issues and their treatment, murder, fundamentalist religion and disabliity. On the whole these strands are successfully woven together into a coherant story that makes more sense than the listing of them would imply.

The central characters are : a wheelchair confined therapist who is treating a psychotic teenager claiming to predict natural disasters and who murdered her mother. I felt that the therapist's character was somewhat two dimensional but that the psychotic teenager was better drawn (was going to say more well rounded but felt that a psychotic teenager was far from being well rounded!) and that the peripheral characters were well enough written. The plot was implausible but enjoyable enough and the prose was wonderful to the point of being absolutely stunning in places. The title of the book was spelt out in no uncertain terms and the ending, I felt, was disappointing and a little predicable.

I enjoyed this book and it's something that I would not have chosen to read - actually I'd never heard of it until it was mentioned on the nominations thread - and had decided against it when it was put to the vote initially. I'm now glad I read it. I do think it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi (my apologies to the french speakers on the board!) and I can't quite put my finger on what that is at the moment, but on the whole a good enough book to be going on with.

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I'd never heard of this book until it was nominated and didn't vote for it - or any of the others - because I knew nothing about them and thought I'd go with the flow and just read whatever was chosen.


I'm glad I did. I enjoyed this book immensely. The biggest worry I had was that it was going to get as ludicrous as that Nicholas Cage disaster flick, Knowing. Knowing was out last year and features a young girl who can predict all major catastrophes in the world, leading up to the End of the World in a scenario silly as a box of frogs. Liz Jensen and her publishers must have felt sick when they saw the preview.


(It's availablehere - Nicholas Cage, Knowing. )


But this book doesn't get nearly as silly as the film and the main character, unlike Nicholas Cage, is nearly believable. Although her romance failed to convince me. She seemed ludicrously jealous, and - excuse me - but that Scottish guy who Jensen always calls by both his first and last names for no apparent reason, well, he loves her? I'm sure I rolled my eyes when I read that.


All in all, a fun, light, read, with a couple of issues (don't let the earth get warmer! Stop Christian fundamentalists from abusing their children) thrown in for free.

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How's everybody else going with their reading?




I'm a third of the way through: too early to comment.

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I've just finished! Once I got into the book and got past half-way I found I couldn't put it down and finished it in a couple of sessions today. We already had this book at home, MOH had bought it and read it a while ago. I too hadn't heard of the book before it was nominated, but I had read another book by the author.


It's not really science fiction is it?


I mostly enjoyed the story and thought it was very well written but I was very disappointed with the ending. I didn't feel any build up of tension and never doubted the outcome. In fact toward the end I just kept reading to get it finished not because I was involved in the story.

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I'm often disappointed by the ending of books.


Sometimes I wonder if this has anything to do with the 'high concept' premise that seems really fashionable with fiction at the moment. The author starts out with an idea - or an issue - and doesn't really know what do with it.


Tagesmann, can you think of an ending that might have been more satisfying? perhaps the narrator could have turned out to be completely unreliable, engaged in a weird sort of folie a deux with the prophetic child? (Only, that would not have allowed for the apocalypse the author seemed to want...)

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I finished this book this morning. As with the other posters, it's not something I would have chosen myself. I'm glad I did read it and can join in the discussion but to be honest I thought it was just an OK book.


During the first few chapters I thought it was depressing and wasn't convinced I would finish it. However as the book went on and it gathered momentum I found myself enjoying it slightly more, only slightly mind.

Gabrielle Fox, the wheelchair bound therapist, was not what I hope to find in a lead character. Her jealously was annoying and I just knew her suspicions were going to prove unfounded. I did find myself liking Bethany Krall and in fact found her the reason to carry on reading.


The ending was disappointing but I'm not sure how else it could have ended.


All in all, I'm glad I did carry on reading it but not sure I would recommend it to anyone else.

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Can you think of an ending that might have been more satisfying?
I'm not sure what I wanted or expected. Perhaps if it had been more dreadful or had I felt the characters were in any danger it might have worked for me.


Interestingly, I (as a man?) felt that Gabrielle worked very well as a character. Her insecurities, vulnerability and jealousness seemed very realistic to me.

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I don't know if anyone else has seen the Nicholas Cage flick Knowing, that I referred to above.


It starts off with a little girl who knows the dates and death tolls of all major disasters. She has put them in a type of mathematical code on a piece of paper which has been buried in a time capsule. Nicholas Cage obtains and decyphers the code.


The little girl is right with her disaster predictions. At the end of her list of dates and death tolls she has written a particular date and the death toll as,


everybody else


so as you can see it has distinct similarities to this book. Mad little girl predicts Armaggedon.


Knowing ends with

I think it was solar flares, it might have been something to do with the earth's magnetic field, I can't quite remember which and the truth is that HOW the world ends isn't significant to either plot. It just does. In Knowing a little girl and a boy are rescued by a spaceship full of aliens who knew the world was about to end and rescue a kind of Noah's ark of people to keep the human race going. I have no idea why they want to.


It's so very much sillier than Rapture that Rapture's conclusion almost looks good in comparison.

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Kimberley, from that description I realise that I saw that film too and didn't make the connection.


My main problem was Gabrielle's jealousy. I knew that Bethany was lying and couldn't figure out why Gabrielle wouldn't just assume that herself. It wasn't unknown for Bethany to deliberately cause trouble like that and her therapist is supposed to know better. I felt the ending was also very predictable.


However, I still enjoyed the book.

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I have mixed feelings about this novel.


Some of the writing was quite good but I too got irritated by Gabrielle and her jealousy 'issues'. Also, as already mentioned, I thought the ending was weak.


Being a sci-fi newbie I was surprised that this book didn't really appear to be in that category but to what category it could be assigned to I'm not that sure - part romance, part ecology issues, part thriller, part religion etc etc. Mmm, a bit too much of a novel soup for me.

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I have not read any of the above because I have not finished reading this yet. I have to admit I found it hard to get into. Perhaps it would be more correct to say I found it disturbing to begin with. Now, about a third the way through, I am still not sure about this book. However, the characters are intriguing me and am continuing to read it.


I find the dialogue better reading than the narrative. Sometimes I feel the narrative is like walking through cotton wool or thick foam - it has some substance but is a dense and un-interesting.

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Okay so I've now finished reading the book. Have to admit that the more I read the more it drew me in. At times it almost felt like I had no choice - I just had to keep on reading (far into the night as it happens).


On reflection I can see how the long narrative passages have a purpose, but I still feel they went on a bit too long at times. Having said that the book did flow really well for most of it and carried the story along at quite a pace.


I thought all the characters were quite well written. Bethany was definitely very powerfully written, as she needed to be to carry the story. Gabrielle was just as three dimentional for me, but in a frail and damaged kind of way. For me her jealousy was understandable because here was a woman who had been through a huge trauma in her life, leaving her paralyzed and bereft of a lover and child. To my mind she was not fit to do her job, so meeting someone like Bethany was much more than she could handle - hence her being sucked into Bethany's mad rantings.


I quite liked the way Frazer Melville's name is used. For me it adds gravitas to his persona.


I am still not sure what genre this book belongs to either. It is futuristic (just) so I suppose it is called science fiction for that reason, but for me it was more like a thriller. Whatever it's genre I have enjoyed the read - one I would never have undertaken from personal choice.

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