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The Rapture of Canaan
     

The Rapture of Canaan

4.3 58
by Sheri Reynolds
 

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At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. Try as she might, Ninah hasn't succeeded in resisting temptation her prayer partner, James and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and of God Himself. But the events that follow show

Overview

At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. Try as she might, Ninah hasn't succeeded in resisting temptation her prayer partner, James and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and of God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that Gods ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman understands.

Editorial Reviews

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425162446
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1997
Series:
Oprah's Book Club Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
304,120
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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Rapture of Canaan 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
NanetteK More than 1 year ago
I would not expect a Christian story worthy of the Oprah Club's endorsement to be less than negative toward the faith. But what I did not expect was the disgusting and heretical treatment on display by Ms. Reynolds on page 72 - the last page of this tome I could bear to read: That night I dreamed of Jesus on the cross, on a cross in the field behind the church....I dreamed I went outside in just my gown and walked up to him. He was too nearly dead to speak, but all he had in his eyes was love for me. And I walked up to the wound in his side where he'd been stuck with a sword. I put my mouth on that wound and began drinking from it, swallowing his blood. And then the wound his his side became a mouth, kissing me back, and I could slip my tongue into the wound, feel the inside of his skin with my tongue, circle it there tasting him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would never have finished this book if it had not been required by my instructor. To call this book "literature" is to insult almost every other piece of literature I have ever read. It served only as a vehicle for Reynolds to vent her Oprah-style disdain for biblical Christianity by showing a ridiculous, totally unrealistic and blasphemous distortion of it. I threw my copy in the trash once my assignment was over to prevent someone else from the pain of enduring it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot. It was hard to put down. The subject was different and fascinating. I loved Ninah Huff, the main character and ger Nanna.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many(perhaps 100's)books this past year or two and have yet to write a review on any of them; but after reading this book along with all the reviews, I simply feel compelled to do so-knowing how close I came to not buying the book after reading the few negatve reviews. ANYONE who says that this book is"sacraligious"or that it was written with the clear intent to condemn traditional followers and true believers of the Bible, is so far off in their interpretation that they have to be the same people who view the world and their place in it as"US against THEM"...Believers vs. NON-Believers. This book is like so many other works of fiction, in that it succeeds-perhaps a bit too well for some-in doing what all truly great and inspiring authors set out to do.....Allows the reader to experience anothers way of life, no matter how unfortunate and different from our own it may be. Religious cults are very real. They are also very disturbing in every way possible to those of us who believe in the Love and Mercy of God. This book was beautiful in its depiction of Cult life and the way a teenager might truly feel growing up in one...yet in no way shape or form should it be interpreted as a depiction of true/mainstream Christianity! Please read this book and expect to be touched in a profound way. Let it be a lesson in all the UgLY out there, and hopefully it will deepen your appreciation for the TRUTH and the freedom you have to seek and discover it for yourself without such distortion and fear.
anne1571 More than 1 year ago
This book was peppered with beautiful, deeply moving imagery intricately woven into a most repugnant tapestry. My stomach turned as I read of the fear-driven abuse inflicted on a young female protagonist (and other members of this communal congregation) by the elders of this church, all of whom were coerced, indoctrinated & made to be fully dependent on a sadistic patriarch, expatiating a most vulgar, self-serving dogma under the guise of Christianity. The story was masterfully told with vivid detail, complex character development and evoked a gamut of emotion throughout. I was hooked in by this pitiful protagonist, sustaining on blind faith and obedience, and I was compelled to stay by her side & see it through with her to the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You must be understanding to the power and control that religion can play within a family to appreciate this book. But if you've been there, this book is for you.
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PricelessReads More than 1 year ago
I've always been intrigued by small religious communities: the Amish, the Mennonites, etc. who seemingly live in their own time and space. The author does a great job in this book with setting the scene. While reading this book, I too was walking around the compound of The Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind. I was very angry at whoever wrote the description on the back of the novel however, as they gave away events in the story that don't happen until well into half the novel. Even so, I enjoyed the story of Ninah and was rooting for her the whole way through.
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