cover image The End Is Now

The End Is Now

Rob Stennett, . . Zondervan, $14.99 (335pp) ISBN 978-0-310-28679-0

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)