The Rapture of Canaan

Sheri Reynolds, Author
Sheri Reynolds, Author Putnam Publishing Group $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-399-14112-6
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-0-425-15543-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-425-16244-6
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7838-8270-3
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4406-6626-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-1-4406-6814-2
Prebound-Glued - 320 pages - 978-0-613-03483-8
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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. (Jan.)
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