Posted by: Corri van de Stege | February 21, 2010

A funny old week

Well, it’s been a funny old week – it’s gone before I had time to catch a glimpse!  So many things done and still so many things to do.  Like writing all those reviews.   The most important event however is that great birthday, five years old and celebrating.  Well, that was some 12 days ago now and I never dedicated a blog – here then is the one: Happy birthday granddaughter – you know just as well as I do that I did not forget.  And I am so glad you had the most wonderful birthday party! 

And so the weeks and days pass, and I sat down several times last week starting book reviews, writing up the things that whirl through my head.  I did write, of course I did: two more draft research reports, to go to clients, according to format.  It leaves me exhausted and without energy to write the other things that I want to write about:

my granddaughter’s birthday

the books I’m reading

the thoughts I have about the books I’m reading

As I said before, life is too short and the day job too demanding.  Nevertheless, just now I sat down and watched the Book Review on More 4 – where the panel discussed Liz Jensen’s The Rapture.  The Book Review show has got a list of quite interesting books (10 in total), and without their recommendations I would probably never have picked up this book by Jensen.  Yet, the way the panel members review books seems too casual, too much as if you, watching the programme, are listening in on a group of people chatting aimlessly on the bus, or the train: the reviews remind you of the chatter around a dinner table, a randomly collected group of people coming at it from completely different angles that somehow don’t seem to connect.

What do I think of the book?  That’s what you want to know of course.  I thought Jensen really managed to capture the idiotic but so real convictions of particular religious groups, the belief in the ‘End of the World’, with capital letters, where the righteous will be transferred to heaven (the ‘rapture‘) and the sinners will stay behind.  This, she manages to inextricably link to environmental distasters that will eventually bring a halt to our cosey lives.  Nevertheless, the real cause of the ultimate distaster is not so much a slow degeneration into global warming, the melting of the icecap, the raising of the sea levels, no there is a much more direct cause to it.  I’m not going to say what it is, read the book, but it is utterly believable. 

On the way, Jensen touches on a number of subjects that are considered quite taboo, a woman in a wheel chair having (and enjoying) a sex life, for example.   She is vulnerable and although in theory in charge of the situation, is probably just as much in need of therapy as Bethany is.  The character of Bethany, the young gir in an institution for dangerously deranged young people, is also utterly believable.  Teenagers get twisted in all kinds of ways and Bethany has cause to be twisted.  But she is a clever girl, and the book manages to convince us that she is capable of forecasting what is going to happen on specific days.

The book  is well written (I am the first one to throw aside books that are clumsy when evoking characters or settings) and is able to convey a reality and urgency that keeps you hooked until the very end.  I have realised that, starting with Stieg Larsson, I have begun to quite enjoy these ‘genre books’, books that are usually bundled with others in a specific category, sci fi, thrillers, detectives, whatever.  This one is a psychological thriller, but at the same time an ecological thriller (definitely set in today’s world) that makes us think about what might happen.  It is also about the two-facedness of the kind of religious fervour that destroys while at the same time  as pretending to be about the salvation of mankind.  It never is, it is just as dangerous as man-made ecological disasters.

Other books I’ve read?

Well, there’s The Echo Maker by Richard Powell – which is also classified as a psychological thriller.  I’m clearly on a roll here.  Yes, it’s good.  And I will get round to writing a slightly more elaborate review, promise.

For now – I’m moving forward into the working week and so the mind is on much more immediate things, like workshops, writing reports, getting from A to B and convincing clients that what I am giving them is what they want.  So, what else is there to look forward to?  Just another funny old week probably!

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Responses

  1. […] of viewers / readers who watch the programme.  On the list is the Rapture by Liz Jensen, which I reviewed a few weeks back, Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which I had read before I realised it was on this […]


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