Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Rapture - Susan Minot I'm a sucker for a sales table at a bookstore, and am always willing to take a chance on a book by an author who has already had rave reviews for a previous book. I should, however, learn to pass by the books where all the comments on the jacket are for the previous book, and not the one I'm picking up, so that I can miss such duds as Susan Minot's Rapture.::: Benjamin and Kay :::Rapture actually takes place in a single afternoon; two ex-lovers, Benjamin and Kay, have met for lunch and end up in bed together. During the course of the longest and most clinical session of oral sex I've ever read about, the two reflect on their pasts and their current view of their relationship, such as it is. Benjamin is an independent filmmaker with one movie to his credit, and Kay was the production designer on the movie.During their time together on the movie, Benjamin began the relationship with Kay, even though he had a rich fiancee, Vanessa, back at home in New York. Convinced that he was no longer in love with Vanessa, he stayed with her nonetheless because of her financial support and emotional forbearance, but felt as if he was falling in love with Kay.Kay knew about Vanessa, but had the affair with Benjamin anyway, and then spent years trying to work out her feelings for him and how to move past him, occasionally running into him and sleeping with him along the way. During the afternoon in which Rapture takes place, Kay and Benjamin explore their innermost thoughts about each other and themselves internally while the excruciatingly long sex act takes place.::: Fifth Grade Health Class Was Sexier :::The conceit of the novel starts with the first paragraph, which I'm assuming is supposed to shock and titillate the reader. Look! She's performing oral sex on him! And they are thinking about things! In all honesty, it was the most boring sex act I think that has ever been written, and I got through the book (a quick read at only 116 pages, thankfully) by occasionally calling out to my [ex-]husband, "Page 75!" and he would ask "Are they done yet?" That's a sorry state of affairs for a book that is supposed to be centered on this one act, isn't it?Compounding the astonishingly boring sex are the stream-of-consciousness inner ramblings of two of the most self-absorbed and stereotypical characters ever to inhabit the pages of a book. Benjamin is your typical skunk of a man: cheating on his fiancee, leading on another woman, and then, as if that isn't enough, once the fiancee leaves him as well, he starts partying hard with tons of one-night stands. Just in case the reader was confused about what a snake he is, you know, especially considering that he isn't above sleeping with Kay or Vanessa, even though he's not with either one of them, Minot throws in a story about climbing up a fire escape to some co-ed's room at 2 AM, sleeping with HER and then being incensed that she left him a note about being used, because she should have KNOWN any guy coming to her room at 2 AM was there to use her. Drive that point right into the ground!Kay is also stereotypical, channeling all her hopes for a real relationship into whatever occasions she manages to sleep with Benjamin, and viewing this particular afternoon as an expression of her love for him akin to worship. The most involvement I had in either of the characters was my desire to grab this girl by her hair, slap her silly, and ask why on earth she would be attracted to this loser, much less sleep with him.However good her previous novels may have been, Minot has totally missed the mark with Rapture. I can't remember the last time I was so happy to finish a book and know I'd never have to read it again.This review previously published at Epinions:

Currently reading

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography
Elisabeth Sladen, David Tennant
Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening
Sophie Morgan
Bellman & Black
Diane Setterfield
Deep into the Heart of a Rose
G.T. Denny