Published by Macmillan, 1986; Coronet, 1987
Imprisoned in a disturbed private world, nine-year-old Mikey fears for his life at every second. To free him, Ruth must decipher the outlandish laws that govern him. But, trapped in a devotion at once joyful and dreadful, she must also free herself from the prison of her past.
Harry reckons he wouldn’t be in the psychiatric hospital at all if it weren’t for the onslaught of an evil spirit – the sort of misfortune that a prophet has to expect in the critical last days before the Second Coming.
Dorothy is careful not to suffer guilt for her son’s affliction; her husband Rex is careful not to reveal the secret that torments him. When a rape disrupts their affluent neighbourhood, they are disturbed; when Klackan enters their lives, they are never the same again.
On the day of reckoning, souls are threshed and separated: some are cast out, others are reunited – at the Rapture.
‘So wise and compassionate, so altogether intelligent about madness…’ London Evening Standard
‘Convincing and unsettling… builds up the tension of a first-class thriller.’ The Observer
‘Provokes deep and disturbing speculations about the human mind – or is spirit more the word?’ The Guardian
‘Harrowing…convincing…disturbing…chilling.’ Books and Bookmen
‘Original is a word which will occur to any reader slipping beneath the disturbing and terrifying covers of Patrick Harpur’s second novel, The Rapture. Nine-year-old Mikey is imprisoned in his own dreadful world. The shadows lengthen from the nursery and every character in the book seems touched with fear, building to a strange cathartic conclusion. At times the novel crosses over into disorientating nightmares but returns constantly to anchor the reader in a maddeningly banal middle-class Home Counties commuterland. It is this reality that makes the intruder with the bottle of acid so frightening in Dorothy’s bedroom and Mikey’s imaginings about ‘littl’uns’ and tombs so unnerving. Patrick Harpur says on the flyleaf that he wants to extend the convention of the thriller and he has. A remarkable book.’ Punch magazine
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