StarTribune: American Gospel

Review of American Gospel by Lin Enger

Radically personal and quintessentially American, an intimate drama at the heart of an apocalyptic vision

It’s August 1974 in a fractious America. Watergate has forced Nixon’s exit, to the relief of most and the dismay of some. Among the latter is Enoch Bywater, a lanky farmer in his 70s who lives in a “lavender blue” lake-mirrored stretch of the North Woods near the (fictional) town of Battlepoint, “north of Bemidji.”

On Aug. 6, Enoch is felled by a heart attack, then stolen from death by the vigorous CPR of a stranger who disappears (an angel?). During Enoch’s time in the shining portal between worlds, he has a vision of the Rapture, in which the faithful (as defined by some evangelical Christians, including our Enoch) are lofted into heaven. The Rapture, Enoch declares, will occur on Aug. 19.


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