Tim Wilson

Their Faces Were Shining


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May 2010

NZ Listener Top 100 pick, 2010; Canvas Book of the Year 2010; Finalist in the NZ Post Book Awards 2011

When Hope Paterson plunges into a construction hole at her local mall and saves a child from drowning, she believes this is a sign from God. Maybe her marriage, her relationship with her daughter – even her diet – will be revitalised. Days later, a car crashes outside Hope’s office. The young passenger is dead but the driver has mysteriously disappeared, leaving just her clothes. Then her daughter calls unexpectedly. She is weeping. Kids floated up through the roof in calculus class, their faces glowing with unearthly light. She sobs: ‘Mom, it’s the Rapture.’

‘The Rapture?’ thinks Hope, ‘on a Monday?’

The world ends; the world carries on. The Dalai Lama is seen floating above a duplex on Fifth Avenue, laughing uproariously. Angry mobs torch churches. Flagellants whip themselves, hoping to earn God’s grace. The hot new reality show is called ‘Are YOU the Anti-Christ?’ The Dow surges. As anarchy descends, Hope must fight for those she has loved so poorly, and then for herself.

Their Faces Were Shining combines profound human insight with a thriller’s narrative drive. Engaging marriage, family and faith, mixing comedy and awe, it is an astonishing literary achievement.

Tim Wilson is the author of three novels: The Straight Banana (2016), News Pigs (2014), and Their Faces Were Shining (2010), which was shortlisted for the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards. He has also published a collection of short fiction, The Desolation Angel (2011). He currently lives in Auckland, but was TVNZ’s US Correspondent for seven years. Besides numerous New Zealand publications, he has written for the Guardian and the New York Times.

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