In Dinosaurs on the Roof, acclaimed author and playwright David Rabe delivers a singular work that reaffirms his extraordinary range and talent, and introduces a story and a collection of characters whose genuine audacity will echo with readers for years to come.
In the town of Belger, Iowa, recently divorced Janet Cawley is attempting to find some peace and quiet, and perhaps a solitary place where she can finally fall apart. She's quit her job teaching fourth grade, though with the money she has, she will probably get along fine for another six months. She still needs to extricate herself from an affair with an ex-colleague that has the neighbors talking, but after that she can spend her time alone, jogging, drinking, and making the occasional trip into town.
Her plans are interrupted one morning by the sudden appearance of her now-deceased mother's oldest friend, Bernice, who has an urgent matter to discuss. Bernice's preacher, it seems, has informed his congregation that they are to be visited by the Rapture that very evening -- and Bernice's first question, and most pressing fear, is how her dogs and cats will be fed and cared for after she's gone.
Through that night and into the next, the lives of these two women will become inextricably woven together as they struggle to find reason in the incomprehensible and sometimes ludicrous events that unfold, and search for tangible signs of faith in themselves and the world around them. Dinosaurs on the Roof is a magnificent novel that speaks volumes about spirituality in the twenty-first century and explores the intimate, everyday gestures of the strangers closest to us with unforgettable humor and remarkable humanity.
In his entertaining second novel, Obie Award winning playwright Rabe (In the Boom Boom Room ) presents an overly eventful day-in-the-life of two women in smalltown Iowa. Elderly Bernice Doorley is convinced that in the company of Reverend Tauke and his followers, she will be on her way to heaven that evening, which, according to the reverend, is when the rapture is due to arrive. Bernice's main concern is who will take care of her beloved pets, particularly her old dog, General. On the outs with daughter Irma, Bernice turns to Janet Cawley, the eccentric daughter of her recently deceased friend, whose days revolve around jogging, drinking and sleeping with her married boyfriend. Bernice waits in her best outfit to be beamed up; Janet, meanwhile, has other adventures with a former student (she was a fourth-grade teacher). Serious topics like spirituality and mother-daughter relationships get an airing in this satire of American excess, but the proceedings end up increasingly contrived.