Who would benefit if they really did bring The Rapture on? Marc Estrin follows another of his strange protagonists through a world troubled by what it knows and by how it applies that knowledge. From the first page, we are plunged into a global riot of paranoia, joy, and fear. But something is sadly familiar here, perhaps because we have been taught to anticipate a world in which people suddenly fly off the planet. It might be The Rapture. Or it might be some violation of the force of gravity. Whatever it is, it’s spreading madness, religious hysteria, and some truly formidable government powers.
Richard Gronsky is swept off his feet by T.L. Skulkington, a sassy, right-wing superstar, during one of her liberal-bashing talks. Their romance struggles with contrasting politics until a run-in with Homeland Security brings Miss Skulkington's libertarian impulses to the fore: "Skulk" is won over to Gronsky's causes - secession of the Free State of Kansas, and 9/11 Truth. So begins the couple's mad attempt to stage an Event which will awaken the Sunflower State to the Issues of the Day. Stirred by letters from John Brown's grave, they take flying lessons, and steal a Cessna to crash into Wichita's highest building.
A former lover becomes an uninvited houseguest in Ted and Marjory’s quiet abode, adversely affecting investigations into the history of the semicolon. A prosecutor must compulsively narrate his neighbour into ignominy. A market analyst’s visit to a stripper goes awry. Sentimental Exorcisms is a collection of tragicomic satire, latter-day Victorian collisions of Nabokov and Proust. The men in these long short stories have grand designs and petty fears, or modest designs and grand fears. Desires, scapegoats, idylls and obtrusive egos: the golden calves they can’t quite bear to kill.