The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Rapture of Canaan

The Rapture of Canaan

4.3 58
by Sheri Reynolds
     
 

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Takes the reader into what feels like the world of a teen-age girl trying to make her peace with the world & with God. At the Church of Fire & Brimstone, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, & everyone obeys, or else. But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temptation occasionally touches the congregation . . . & for

Overview

Takes the reader into what feels like the world of a teen-age girl trying to make her peace with the world & with God. At the Church of Fire & Brimstone, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, & everyone obeys, or else. But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temptation occasionally touches the congregation . . . & for Ninah, temptation comes in the form of her prayer partner, James. She soon finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the church members, & God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that Gods ways are mysterious.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this gritty portrait of a young girl who battles repression in a rural Southern religious community, Reynolds (Bitterroot Landing) once again showcases a compelling narrative voice that's simultaneously harsh and lyrical. The narrator is Ninah Huff, granddaughter of Herman Langston, the founder of a Pentecostal sect in rural South Carolina. Herman is a strict disciplinarian, to say the least: he forces one congregant found guilty of drinking to sleep in an open grave. Because of the Pentecostal group's rigid attitudes, Ninah and her peers are frequently scorned and mocked at school. But her real problems start when she becomes pregnant by her prayer partner. Ninah's subsequent rebellion and the tragic aftermath of her tryst threaten to tear the community apart, particularly when the despotic Herman interprets an ordinary, curable birth defect in her infant son, Canaan, as a sign that she has given birth to the new messiah. While many of the issues Reynolds deals with are coming-of-age staples-teen rebellion; the standoff between adolescent expression and religious repression; the morality of the individual vs. the morality of the group-her gift for characterization ultimately transcends the material as Ninah's strength and resilience enable her to move beyond benighted religiosity toward a true and lasting faith. Literary Guild featured alternate selection.
Library Journal
For Ninah Huff, being different from most people has meant being saved. Growing up in her grandfather's penitential religious commune in the rural South, Ninah is surrounded by love and the assurance of sanctity, though she sometimes wonders if she is truly holy. At 14, she begins to have serious doubts. Are all outsiders really damned? Are long, somber dresses and never-cut hair really necessary? Most of all, how sanctified are the feelings sparking between Ninah and James, her prayer partner in the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind? With Ninah's pregnancy, questions of faith and sin take on real urgency, leading to tragedy and even a miracle. Ninah relates her story in prose both poetic and page turning; Reynolds lives up to the praise garnered by her first novel, Bitterroot Landing (LJ 11/15/94).-Starr E. Smith, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, Va.
Michele Leber
For 14-year-old Ninah Huff, growing up in the extended family community of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind has meant working on the communal tobacco farm, receiving harsh punishments for unintended acts, being different from schoolmates, and enjoying a few simple pleasures. Foremost among the pleasures have been the company and stories of Nanna, whose husband, Grandpa Herman, founded the church after surviving wartime combat and unilaterally controlled its finances, doctrines, and daily life. Then comes a pleasures surpassing all others in the person of 15-year-old James. Designated prayer partners, Ninah and James share rebellious ideas, tentative touches, and more (after beseeching Jesus to speak to each of them through the other), leaving Ninah pregnant and touching off events that shake the community and its faith. Reynolds' second assured coming-of-age novel (after Bitterroot Landing, 1995) is also a devastating portrayal of organized religion as illogical, intolerant, and cruel but still unable to extinguish the spark of the human spirit.
From the Publisher
"Truly rapturous."
—The New York Times Book Review

"Folksy lyricism . . . a colorful supporting cast . . . a fresh story. As they say in church, 'Hallelujah.'"
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Powerful."
Atlanta Journal & Constitution

"Assured . . . devastating."
—Booklist

"The story compels . . . Reynolds has an imagination that takes the reader into what feels like the world of a teen-age girl trying to make her peace with the world and with god."
Richmond Style Weekly

"The newest and most exciting voice to emerge in contemporary Southern fiction."
San Francisco Bay Guardian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425155431
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
11/01/1996
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
4.34(w) x 7.06(h) x 0.86(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Truly rapturous."
—The New York Times Book Review

"Folksy lyricism . . . a colorful supporting cast . . . a fresh story. As they say in church, 'Hallelujah.'"
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Powerful."
Atlanta Journal & Constitution

"Assured . . . devastating."
Booklist

"The story compels . . . Reynolds has an imagination that takes the reader into what feels like the world of a teen-age girl trying to make her peace with the world and with god."
Richmond Style Weekly

"The newest and most exciting voice to emerge in contemporary Southern fiction."
San Francisco Bay Guardian

Meet the Author

Sheri Reynolds was born in rural South Carolina and now lives in Virginia. She has taught English at Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, and The College of William and Mary. She is at work on a new novel.

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