Friday, November 20, 2020

"Bright Shining World"

Josh Swiller is the author of Bright Shining World, a YA eco-thriller published by Knopf. He is the author of The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa. He lives with his family in the forest in Upstate New York.

Swiller applied the Page 69 Test to Bright Shining World and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s talk this through. A tennis ball is following you.”


“One with T. rex arms.”

“Don’t mock me.”

“Four feet tall.” I held out a hand. “So, about this high? Or this?”


“With big feet or just big shoes?”

“Don’t! Don’t make fun of me!” Her lip curled. “You think I don’t know this is crazy? You think I’m not scared?”

“Have you asked her to go play with a wall?”

“Of course I tried that! Many times! She cries if I do. So loud I can’t even think. But I’ve got things to do, Wallace! I’ve got the SAT! I’ve got plans! I can’t take care of a freaking tennis ball!”

Sometimes you hear something so strange that you question the very act of hearing things. Like, maybe words didn’t mean what you thought they did. Their meanings changed overnight, and now the word love is actually another way of saying egg salad. Or maybe…
Yeahhh, this page captures a lot of the mood of Bright Shining World, a novel about how relentless planetary destruction is starting to really warp and deplete our inner lives – and what, goddamn it, we can do about that. Wallace Cole, the narrator, has just arrived to a strange, hysteria-stricken town and has a crush on Megan Rose, who is describing her encounter with, yes, a walking tennis ball. Megan Rose to this point has appeared to be the stereotypical high school superachiever and Wallace has been a loner for so long his best efforts at empathy are full of sarcasm. But she is not who she appears to be. And he does really care. This interaction captures how they’re dancing around each other while at the same time uncovering a mystery bigger than they can grasp.

I love characters who are fun and complicated and alive. They’re fun to read and easy to root for! I’m hopeful this page captures that.
Visit Josh Swiller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue