American Gospel by Lin Enger
Featured on The Thread: Lin Enger's new novel delves into truth, lies and the apocalypse
On a small farm beside a lake in Minnesota’s north woods an old man is waiting for the Rapture, which God has told him will happen in two weeks, on August 19, 1974. When word gets out, Last Days Ranch becomes ground zero for The End, drawing zealots, curiosity seekers, and reporters—among them the prophet’s son, a skeptical New York writer suddenly caught between his overbearing father and the news story of a lifetime. Into the mix comes Melanie Magnus, a glamorous actress who has old allegiances to both father and son. Meanwhile, Nixon’s resignation has transfixed the nation.
Writing with clear compassion and gentle wit, Lin Enger draws us into these disparate yet inextricably linked lives, each enacting a part in a drama forever being replayed and together moving toward a conclusion that will take all of them—and us—by surprise. Set during a time that resonates with our own tension-filled moment, American Gospel cuts close to the battles occurring within ourselves and for the soul of the nation, and in doing so radiates light on a dark strain in America’s psyche, when the false security of dogma competes with the risky tumult of freedom.