“Rapture” by Susan Minot (Knopf, 2002)


Much like Steve Martin’s Shopgirl, Rapture is a story about a doomed relationship. Benjamin already has a fiancée by the name of Vanessa who he’s pretty sure he’s still in love with, while Kay meets Benjamin on the shooting of a movie and from then on the game plays out.  Sometimes he is madly in love with her, while she just wants to get away from him, while at other times the opposite takes place, and rarely do the two want each other.  What makes Rapture unique are a few things: the book takes place entirely around the setting of Kay going down on Benjamin, and this oral sex does not reach its orgasmic conclusion until page 112; and the reader is not only in the head of Benjamin or Kay, but both of them, each mind separated by a single asterisk, and each time you know whose head you are in because Minot follows the plan exactly.

Minot also has many lessons to give you: “Once a boy felt he’d made a conquest, then his energy was released and he was free to move on and put the girl out of his mind.  For a girl, that conquest left its hook in.”  The only think lacking in Rapture is a comfortable sense of the outside world which most books tend to offer.  Because of this  we do not know where we are, what jobs the characters have, and are confined to the narrow minds of these bizarre yet perfectly realistic characters.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally published on May 6th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

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