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City of Books

Dec 8, 2022

The Raptures is Jan Carson’s most autobiographical novel, dealing with a child raised in an evangelical Christian community in 1990s Northern Ireland – which mirrors her own background.

In her book, a class of children from the same village fall prey to a mysterious and deadly epidemic. Only one pupil seems to be avoiding the effects of the disease: Hannah, a girl from a born-again Christian background.

“There is a lot of me in this book and for that reason it was both very easy to write because I know this world very well, there wasn’t a lot of research to do, but quite difficult to write – to go to the hard places,” Jan tells podcast host Martina Devlin.

“It’s very easy to pastiche this world. It’s much more difficult to have a nuanced look at it.” She was sheltered from the Troubles, but in hindsight wishes she'd known more about what was happening around her.

In her books, Jan gives readers a strong sense of the Ulster Protestant experience, especially for those from the ‘born again’ community.

“I grew up absolutely immersed in the King James Bible,” she says. “That is not a bad literary document to be immersed in as a writer. It’s got everything from poetry and prophecy to magical realism and beautiful, beautiful language. I’m very glad for those things.”

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