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Rapture

The Rapture - Liz Jensen Anyone familiar with the work of JG Ballard will see his influence all over this novel - set, as it is, in an ill-at-ease near-future with, as its protagonist, a psychologist disabled following a car crash. On her return to work at a secure psychiatric hospital she finds herself faced with a violent teenage killer who sees visions of future disasters following electroconvulsive therapy. The Rapture is more of a literary thriller than a page-turner, as you can tell from its opening paragraph - which is one of the best I've read for a long time: "That summer, the summer all the rules began to change, June seemed to last for a thousand years. The temperatures were merciless: thirty-eight, thirty-nine, then forty in the shade. It was heat to die in, to go nuts in, or to spawn. Old folk collapsed, dogs were cooked alive in cars, lovers couldn't keep their hands off each other. The sky pressed down like a furnace lid, shrinking the subsoil, cracking concrete, killing shrubs from the roots up. In the parched suburbs, ice-cream vans plinked their baby tunes into streets that sweated tar. Down at the harbour, the sea reflected the sun in tiny, barbaric mirrors. Asphyxiated, you longed for rain. It didn't come."So right from the start I wallowed in the ominous, is-this-the-end-of-the-world atmosphere. (Is it wrong of me to enjoy apocalyptic thrillers, I wonder?) Unfortunately, as the book progressed, some of characters were not believable enough, and the vague scientific explanation for the cause of those visions was far from convincing, so I felt that The Rapture didn't turn out to be as seriously scary as it promised early on.