Since its introduction in 1947, the Doomsday Clock has represented how close mankind is to total destruction. Although the clock was originally set at seven minutes to midnight, it has fluctuated over the years from as far away as seventeen minutes (in 1991, marking the fall of the Soviet Union) to two minutes, the current setting as of 2018. While the real-life Doomsday Clock setting refers to imminent disaster from climate change and nuclear escalation, the title of Bernard Dillard’s second book, Two ‘Til Midnight, refers to rising tensions between angels and demons that threaten the lives of one community.
The heroine of this novel, Garnet, is a professor just like the author. In her personal and professional life, she and those around her are swayed toward and away from sin by two groups that are fighting for their souls. The angels and demons are introduced early on in the book, and they discuss their plans to lead Garnet and her loved ones to salvation, or temptation, respectively. The omnificent beings have a hand in the events that follow, although the characters are all seemingly unaware of their presence.
In one scene, a character is tempted by his ex, who suggests in a phone call that he abandon his faith and return to their relationship. As this happens, the Holy Spirit implores him to hang up the phone. The benevolence of the angels (Gabriel, an angel, is late for his meeting with the others because he has been watching over one of his subjects) is juxtaposed against the chaotic nature of the demons (Mictian, a demon, is late for his demon meeting because he stops to cause a highway accident). Against the backdrop of the battle between good and evil being waged by the angels and demons is an exploration of modern, tolerant Christianity.
Garnet and her family are devout Christians, and although they have some staunch traditions (Garnet pre-cooks dinner on Sundays because she is often so overcome by the church’s service that cooking after would be exhausting) their church is very modern and open-minded and explores different cultures’ interpretations of service each week. Two major themes of the novel are the intersection between sexuality and Christianity and race and sexuality. Because of the modern and accepting church community that Garnet and her loved ones ascribe to, LGBT characters are able to reconcile their sexuality with their religion and understand the difficulty of being an LGBT person of color.
Two ‘Til Midnight features a full ensemble cast of characters, whether they be human, an angel or a demon, and uses its narrative to craft a compelling story about faith shining through in a world two minutes away from midnight.
Two ‘Til Midnight is now available.
About Bernard Dillard
Bernard L. Dillard was born in Durham, NC to parents who were literally born on the same day of the same year. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA with a degree in English Literature. He taught sixth grade for a few years in the Atlanta area and later completed graduate work in applied mathematics in the DC area. He is the author of Lemonade, which won first place in Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Award (2013) in the memoir category.
He currently serves as associate professor of mathematics in the New York City area, where he teaches several upper-level courses, including statistical analysis and the mathematics of financial life management. He is the author of Elementary Statistics and Moneymatics, both college-level textbooks that are used throughout the country.
He has enjoyed a few acting stints (“The Wire” and “West Wing”) and several modeling assignments (Sean John, Rocawear, etc); he is also an avid runner and loves watching indie films and documentaries.
He is single and resides in the Bronx.