It is easy to make assumptions about people’s lives from only seeing what is projected, but there is no way of really knowing what happens at home or in their heads. David Grindberg’s Rapture of the Deep takes a look at two sets of couples who reveal a very different image to the world vs. what is really taking place behind closed doors. Grindberg’s words make the passions, secrets and feelings that no one likes to talk about jump off the page. The characters’ inner pains, ambitions and struggles are all starkly presented and belong to the reader as much as to the story.
The book begins with a tragedy as Jen Johnson is told that her husband Joe, affectionately called Puck, has died in a scuba diving accident in Mexico. The couple has been separated due to Jen’s drinking and inability to process the death of their newborn son but these details are not revealed until later in the story. Grindberg works in a flashback format, paired with scuba diving manual passages that help to break up the story that often switches viewpoints neatly. The truth about this tragedy is also revealed later on in the story.
Joe’s best friend is the high profile banker Tom Hyden who works at his family bank in their small Iowa town. Annie, his beautiful and intense wife, and his daughter Sophie lack for nothing, but they do not know that every night Tom is haunted by the staggering bills in his office that he is unable to pay. Tom and Joe carry their childhood bond into the hobby of scuba diving and stories of the trips they have taken are sprinkled throughout the story. The scuba diving acts as powerful symbolism for Grindberg’s exposure of the characters secrets; nothing can be kept at the bottom of the sea and even when you feel weightless, the world can still be heavy. The relationships and realizations that each married couple undergoes are truly trying and not even the strongest can emerge from the water unscathed.
Rapture of the Deep is an excellent read about the murkiness that can creep into life when it is least expected and how people handle it so very differently. The novel shows events at various times through the eyes of Tom, Joe, Annie and Jen and each provide an interesting perspective on family, success, life, love and hardship. Grindberg’s main characters are careful, composed and will make the reader feel their darkest secrets and pain with raw, but clear intensity.
Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com
Review copy was provided by David Grindberg. Compensation was received but in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review.