BRIGHT SHINING WORLD — a novel by Josh Swiller (Zambia)


A darkly funny thriller about one boy’s attempt to unravel the mysterious
phenomenon affecting students in his new town, as he finds a way to resist sinister forces and pursue hope for them all.

Wallace Cole is perpetually moving against his will. His father has some deeply important job with an energy company that he refuses to explain to Wallace who is, shall we say, suspicious. Not that his father ever listens to him. Just as Wallace is getting settled into a comfortable life in Kentucky, his father lets him know they need to immediately depart for a new job in a small town in Upstate New York which has recently been struck by an outbreak of inexplicable hysterics–an outbreak which is centered at the high school Wallace will attend.

In the new town, go from disturbing to worse: trees appear to be talking to people; a school bully, the principal, and the town police force take an instant dislike to Wallace; and the student body president is either falling for him or slipping into the enveloping darkness. Bright Shining World is a novel of resistance, of young people finding hope and courage and community in a collapsing world.

Bright Shining World

Bright Shining World
by Josh Swiller (Zambia 1994-96)
Knopf Children’s Book, grades 7-9
304 pages
November 2020
$10.99 (Kindle); $14.99 (Hardcover)

Josh Swiller served in the first group of PCVs in Zambia (1994-96). His book about that experience, The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa was a NYT’s bestseller. He grew up in New York City, studied literature at Yale, fought forest fires in California and has been a college professor, Zen monk, and hospice social worker. He now lives in upstate New York. 


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