A believable fiction tale of conversion from Tim Winton

Eyrie is the first Tim Winton book I've read in a while. It's great for lots of reasons. Here's one of them.

I've always felt that portraying religious conversion positively is difficult to do in modern Western fiction. Cultish conversion or hypocritical conversion or tacky conversion: yes. But the kind of genuine and noble conversion that I see and recognise from my own Christian experience: I rarely see it done well.

So I admired this passage:

Forty years of hurt and bafflement and not once had he heard the man [Wally] offer a harsh word about his [the main character, Keely's] father.

He'd only been a boy when things went wobbly between Wally and Nev. In the days when most tradesmen were happy to work for the council or a government works department they'd gone into business together, made a go of it on their own. Just a pair of working-class blokes, they were, but they went hard at it, balls to the wall, and had begun to make some headway. Before Billy Graham and his groupies showed up. Before Nev and Doris went all 'different'. Before Wal was left holding the rag. By all accounts the divergences hadn't been gradual. Not that it was acrimonious, just bewildering. For the Keelys it was a sudden, radical shift, a total explosion of reality. Happened to lots of people those years, often only a momentary enthusiasm, but for Nev and Doris it was deep and lasting. In the wake of their religious conversion they were fundamentally realigned. And even for Wal, who bore the brunt, whose life was overturned in a manner less joyous, it was impressive — even frightening — to witness.

Nev did nothing in half measures. He was an all-out, open-throttle bloke, and in one blinding 'Just As I Am' moment he was letting the dead bury their dead. And the partnership, if not the friendship, was chaff to the winds. He just walked from the business and went out saving souls with Doris. No one could blame Wally for feeling bitter, not after what it cost him to save things singlehandedly and press on. Said it was twice the work and half the fun. He'd survived financially, but without his mate in it with him it was suddenly just work. Nev was lost to Christ. Yet by some miracle of agnostic tolerance the friendship endured. And even if Wal's teeth were gritted he did his best to give Nev his profane and tender blessing....

Oh, the sight of Wal in church. The only time he ever came. Staring up at Nev in the pulpit. Wal's face blank and closed like the ex at the wedding. That's how he'd looked at the graveside, too. Like a man spurned all over again." (p. 121–122)

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