Review | Tuesday 30 June 2009
After gaining notoriety for her no-holds-barred depiction of female sexuality in The Bride Stripped Bare, Nikki Gemmell chooses religion and science as her subjects in her latest offering, The Book of Rapture.
Set at an unspecified time in the future, Gemmell imagines a world where science has ascended to a God-like role in society and chaos is let loose. The story centres on three young children held captive in a hotel room, narrated through the eyes of their scientist mother, who may or may not have fallen prey to the evils of power and corruption. Punctuated by mantras from Buddhism to Islamism, Gemmell’s novel debates the role of scientific advancement in an increasingly secular society and the resulting effects stemming from an abuse of this power.
But at the heart of Gemmell’s novel is the exploration of maternal love and responsibility, something she elaborates on more in The Book of Rapture than her previous novel. Gemmell’s latest work will no doubt cement her reputation as a fearless writer unafraid to broach taboo subjects.