RAPTURE by David Sosnowski


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 Inventive first novel with the unlikely theme that humankind is about to evolve into a new species: angels. Well, not exactly heavenly angels, perhaps, but creatures with wings and with a much altered physiology. The first to emerge is Zander Wiles, a dreamy boy who grows up in suburban Michigan and falls under the influence of Thom, a drug-dealer and con-man for whom he becomes a courier. Stoned most of the time, Zander does bad things. When weird ridges appear on his back, he's convinced that he has AIDS (Sosnowski captures the modern paranoia about this plague unerringly). But Zander's virus is far worse, or far better: He sprouts wings and quickly becomes a tabloid sensation--until he is identified, while on a daytime talk show, as a drug-hustling lowlife. Zander slinks offstage, deeply confused and fearful. Meanwhile, other angels are emerging all over the country, forming underground networks and support groups such as Angels Anonymous, and coming up with loopy, New Agelike theories about an impending Armageddon in which the unchosen will sprout horns and tails. Sosnowski delivers all this with gentle glee, broadly commenting on political correctness, pop psychology, the TV culture, gay-bashing, and straight-bashing by gays--all using his clever, meticulously thought-out vehicle of Angelism. In the second half, he creates an angel and angel therapist, Cassie O'Connor, who has written a book celebrating ``angelism.'' Sosnowski becomes decidedly lyrical here, describing Cassie's first halting attempts at flight and her eventual exhilaration as she soars on thermals above Lake Michigan. Cassie, like Zander, is a simply delightful character, but, lamentably, the author allows the novel to lapse into a conventional love story between Zander and Cassie: nice enough, but a far cry from the book's ferocious early scenes. Still, a witty, clever, original debut. Sosnowski writes like- -well, an angel.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-45174-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1996


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