Life After the Rapture

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tom Perotta’s newest book is not a typical choice for me.  I saw the movie Little Children starring Kate Winslet, so I was curious when this book came out.  The fact that life after The Rapture was central to the story made me that much more curious.  I was not disappointed.

In The Leftovers, Tom Perotta explores what would happen if The Rapture actually took place.  The book opens just a short time after millions of people have  just disappeared from the earth. Perotta’s characters show a variety of emotions, including indifference, avoidance, and depression.  Two of the main characters even join strange cults that spring up after The Rapture. 

Perotta’s novel is ordinary in the sense that Justin Cronin’s novel The Passage is extraordinary.  Both follow apocalyptic events, yet the way life goes on after the events in the two novels could not be more different.  Perotta leaves the reader feeling that even after an apocalyptic event,  life would go on in a strangely normal fashion.  That left me pondering the story long after it was over.

Book Details:  Published by St. Martin’s Press (August 30, 2011), 368 pages, ISBN: 0312358342.

Are angels among Us?

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I could not have been more excited when I found out that Javier Sierra had a new book coming out and when I finally got my hands on it, I was not disappointed.  I have  read all of Sierra’s books and am constantly watching out for his latest thriller.  His newest book  is not my favorite (that is The Lady in Blue), but you must read this if you love a good conspiracy thriller.

The premise of this novel is that man has continuously sought ways to communicate directly with God (this brings to my mind the beautiful painting The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo) and in the novel The Lost Angel there are a few who possess the means to do this.  Those who possess “stones of Adam” can use them to communicate not only with God, but with other higher beings.  Two people who possess these stones are the undercover American scientist Martin Faber and his wife Julia Álvarez.

The book opens as we learn that Martin Faber has been kidnapped by terrorists who wish to bring about the end of the world.  Convinced that they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven.  Martin’s only hope for survival is his psychic wife, Julia Alvarez.  She has about seventy-two hours to save her husband, while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.  The Lost Angel takes place in various locations across the world, from the summit of Mount Ararat to the high desert of New Mexico, from the monuments of Washington, DC, to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  The thrilling locales add to the tension in the story!

Sierra spent years investigating scientific and historical mysteries related to mankind’s efforts to communicate directly with God and the novel includes a wonderful glossary of the author’s research.  This makes for fascinating reading in itself.  I only wish that a bibliography had been included as well.

I loved The Lost Angel and look forward to Sierra’s next novel.  The waiting begins…

I received an advanced reader’s edition of this book free from Atria Books.  I was not required to write a review (positive or otherwise) and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Atria Books (October 4, 2011), 400 pages, ISBN: 1451632797.

Book Review: The Map of Time

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book caught my attention because I find European writers to be excellent story tellers and because it had already won the 2008 Ateneo de Sevilla XL Prize.  At 600 plus pages it seemed a little daunting for a summer read, but it is definitely worth the time.

The story is told by an unknown narrator who knows and willingly shares the details and mystery of three interrelated stories.  The stories are related by their time travel thread and by the wonderful characters, many of whom are well-known literary characters.

Palma begins the story in Victorian London, where the wealthy Andrew Harrington is planning to commit suicide.  It turns out that he cannot live without the married prostitute he was in love with.  A married prostitute who was killed by Jack the Ripper.  What a beginning!

Andrew’s cousin Charles works to persuade Andrew, with the help of H. G. Wells, to go back in time to kill Jack the Ripper before he brutally murders Maria, Andrew’s love.  Does Andrew change history?  What happens when Andrew returns after his mission?  There are so many twists and turns that you will have to read The Map of Time to find out.

In Part Two, we meet Claire Haggerty, fed up with all of Victorian England, who too wishes she were dead, or living in another time. She will fall in love with a hero from the future, and Wells will come into the picture again.  Wells returns again in Part Three, where he be comes involved with Scotland Yard and a very unusual  murder.

Palma is a much-loved writer is Spain and writes a wonderful historical-fiction novel with a twist.  The writing is superb, even if the all-knowing narrator is a little too verbose on occasion.

Book Details:  Published by Atria Books (June 28, 2011), 624 pages, ISBN: 1439167397.