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Anybody who can make the apocalypse funny without being patronizing deserves attention. Stennett (The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher) brings a dramatist's sensibility (his professional background is theater) to this story of a "test market for the rapture": Goodland, Kan., home not of everyman but the Henderson family, whose members include fifth-grader Will. Lost in a cornfield, Will receives a vision of three signs of the rapture, a time when, according to Christian teaching, true believers will be lifted from the world before it dissolves in chaos and tribulation. That teaching was the basis for the gazillion-selling Left Behind apocalyptic novels. Stennett offers the apocalypse for the wry and non-literal-minded. Parables may be old-fashioned, but satire fits the times. Stennett's imaginative twist is not entirely successful; sometimes the narrative drags as it presents widely varying viewpoints. But the family at the heart of this satire is goofily believable, and examining the nature of belief-whatever its content-is not at all goofy. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.