Their Faces Were Shining

Tim Wilson takes risks with his first novel, Their Faces Were Shining, and that’s the way it should be. The story: a sizable chunk of the human race floats up to Heaven on page 60 but a believer named Hope is left behind. The wider implications of the Rapture are barely explored; it’s really a device to expose the main character; this is a Rupture novel. It’s gripping, but be warned that it’s also grim in places (though not as apocalyptic as The Road). I appreciated Wilson’s precise observation of human relationships even if he avoids the afterlife.

Few writers go to Heaven (in their novels). M. Scott Peck’s In Heaven As On Earth has a rather clinical psychotherapist’s afterlife, and The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis has a nice take on the physicality of Heaven. My favourite Heavenly stories are the wonderful  A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes which describes the consequences of being perfected; and Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, a thoughtful teenage novel about a Heaven where people age in reverse. The best movie about Heaven is A Matter of Life and Death, a gorgeous 1946 romance that ends with words by Walter Scott,

for love is heaven and heaven is love.’

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