‘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.
Reviews of In the Days of Rain
- ‘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
- ‘Truly magnificent: a big, beautiful, brutal, and tender masterpiece. A deeply affecting human story that also goes to the dark heart of who we are and how the world works’ Mark Mills, author of The Savage Garden
- ‘Stott is masterly as both a storyteller and a historian’ TLS
- ‘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’ 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
- ‘An intense accomplishment’ Sunday Times
- ‘In the Days of Rain is a double memoir: it describes both Rebecca’s own childhood and her father Roger’s life. It is not, though, in any way a misery memoir and that’s what makes it such an attractive and interesting book’ Spectator
- ‘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’ Guardian