‘At university when I made new friends and confidantes, I couldn’t explain how I’d become a teenage mother, or shoplifted books for years, or why I was afraid of the dark and had a compulsion to rescue people, without explaining about the Brethren or the God they made for us, and the Rapture they told us was coming. But then I couldn’t really begin to talk about the Brethren without explaining about my father…’
As Rebecca Stott’s father lay dying he begged her to help him write the memoir he had been struggling with for years. He wanted to tell the story of their family, who, for generations had all been members of a fundamentalist Christian sect. Yet, each time he reached a certain point, he became tangled in a thicket of painful memories and could not go on.
The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan: non-sect books were banned, women were made to wear headscarves and those who disobeyed the rules were punished.
Rebecca was born into the sect, yet, as an intelligent, inquiring child she was always asking dangerous questions. She would discover that her father, an influential preacher, had been asking them too, and that the fault-line between faith and doubt had almost engulfed him.
In The Iron Room Rebecca gathers the broken threads of her father’s story, and her own, and follows him into the thicket to tell of her family’s experiences within the sect, and the decades-long aftermath of their breaking away.
About the Author
Rebecca Stott is a novelist and historian. She is Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA. She lives in Norwich.
'Beautiful, dizzying, terrifying, Stott's memoir maps the unnerving hinterland where faith becomes cruelty and devotion turns into disaster. A brave, frightening and strangely hopeful book' Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City `A marvellous, strange, terrifying book' Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill `By rights Rebecca Stott's memoir ought to be a horror story. But while the historian in her is merciless in exposing cruelties and corruption, Rebecca the child also lights up the book, so passionate and imaginative that it helps explain how she survived, and - even more miraculous - found the compassion and understanding to do justice to the story of her father and the painful family life he created' Sarah Dunant, author of The Birth of Venus `She's a beautiful writer and there is a powerful almost luminous quality to the book. I felt informed, engaged, uplifted and enriched by it' Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love `This book is important; ... there isn't an uninteresting paragraph in this furious and compassionate book' The Times `In the Days of Rain begins as an act of duty, evolves into a gripping investigation into a tangled thread of Christianity, and ends as a compassionate ode to the author's father...thoughtful and beautifully written' Sunday Times `It is written in clear, graceful prose and lacks any trace of self-pity. In these days of religious extremism, it also has an eerie relevance' Daily Mail `Stott deploys her multiplicity of skills to good effect: as a historian, she delves into newspaper clippings, tape recordings, archive materials, a host of memoirs and books on doctrine, theology and the Exclusive Brethren. As a novelist, she makes the tale dramatic ... As an essayist, Stott weaves ideas together with ease and economy' The Guardian
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 1st June 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.2 x 13.6 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.39