MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock

The Shelter Cycle

by Peter Rock

The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock X
The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 224 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

An American original, Peter Rock brings our strangest beliefs to vivid and sympathetic life in this haunting novel inspired by true events.

The Shelter Cycle tells the story of two children, Francine and Colville, who grew up in the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religion that predicted the world could end in the late 1980s. While their parents built underground shelters to withstand the impending Soviet missile strike, Francine and Colville played in the Montana wilderness, where invisible spirits watched over them. When the prophesized apocalypse did not occur, the sect's members resurfaced and the children were forced to grow up in a world they believed might no longer exist.

Twenty years later, Francine and Colville are reunited while searching for an abducted girl. Haunted by memories and inculcated beliefs, they must confront the Church's teachings. If all the things they were raised to believe were misguided, why then do they suddenly feel so true?

1

When I was out by myself in the mountains, I liked to think he was somewhere in the trees. I hiked up the canyons, over the ridge and under the pines and aspens to a place where an old cabin had been. It was only a stone chimney and foundation, all broken down. I tore out long grass for a bed, then stepped through the doorway, a gap in the stones with no walls on either side.

I could hear dogs barking, far away, when I closed my eyes. I heard the stream nearby, the wind in the leaves above. And I heard my name. Francine, Francine.

He stood in the doorway. Wearing his dark blue Cub Scout shirt, the patches on his pocket and his jeans with holes in the knees. Colville Young. He pretended to knock on the door, then stepped inside and stretched out next to me on the bed of grass. We were ten years old, eleven. He was shorter, and his arms were too long for his body, and his hair was almost white, even lighter than mine.

High above, the aspens' leaves slapped, the blue sky bright ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Discuss the novel's title. Though it refers to a phase in the work of the Church, how does it apply to the characters' lives? Where do Francine and Colville find shelter—emotional as well as physical?
  2. What beliefs from your youth did you abandon as an adult? Francine and Colville are able to confront their conflicted memories by visiting well-preserved sites from their past. Which locales from your youth do you revisit?
  3. Was it right for Wells to read Francine's manuscript? What did it reveal about his wife's vulnerabilities, as well as her sources of strength? How were you affected by Peter Rock's use of two narrators?
  4. Were any aspects of the Messenger and her message appealing to you? Which of her ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

One of the most interesting questions the novel poses is this: of the things that we say, which do we believe? And which do we simply believe we believe? Rock makes clear that there is a difference with the juxtaposition of Francine's voice vs. Colville's: the indoctrinated vs. the true believer...continued

Full Review (624 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Morgan Macgregor).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Expertly imagined, eminently readable, and inarguably haunting.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Written with a matter-of-fact flatness, the novel becomes indelibly unsettling as it progresses.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Steeped in foreboding grimness, the real beauty in Rock's narrative lies not in the carefully revealed secrets, but in the curious humanity within each of them.

Author Blurb Rick Bass, award-winning author
As luminous as it is sinister and innocent, The Shelter Cycle is a book not quite like any other. Peter Rock renders masterfully the ferocity and intensity of bonds between childhood friends as well as adults, coupling also the inescapable loneliness and yet hope within the human soul.

Author Blurb Brian Evenson, International Horror Guild Award-winning author
Peter Rock is marvelous at revealing both the insightful strangeness and the madness erring on the outskirts of civilization, and at showing with great sympathy how quickly we can slip from one to the other. A wonderfully humane book about the weirdnesses that make up people's pasts and the way they persist into the present.

Author Blurb Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author
A stunning novel about faith and disillusionment and the lingering power of the past. In spare, lyrical prose, and with immense compassion, Peter Rock illuminates a strange and little-known chapter in American religious history. At times, Rock's uncanny ability to combine mysticism with blunt realism is reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor.

Reader Reviews

Diane S.

The Shelter Cycle
I had not previously heard of the Church Universal and Triumphant, but I have heard of their leader who was Elizabeth Clare Prophet. They were a church in the seventies, that believed the world would end in the spring of 1990. In anticipation they ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Peter Rock

If you liked The Shelter Cycle, try these:

  • My Sunshine Away jacket

    My Sunshine Away

    by M.O. Walsh

    Published 2016

    About this book

    Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

  • Ordinary Grace jacket

    Ordinary Grace

    by William Kent Krueger

    Published 2014

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Told from Frank's perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Delayed Rays of a Star
    by Amanda Lee Koe
    Amanda Lee Koe's Delayed Rays of a Star begins with a late-1920s photo of three women at a party in ...
  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.