I’ve been an admirer of Kevin Brockmeier since 2006, when I read his novel, The Brief History of the Dead . His latest book, The Illumination: A Novel, is a remarkable work, one that again demonstrates Brockmeier’s ability to combine fantastical situations (pain manifesting as light) and literary inventiveness (a chapter written entirely in ten word sentences) with incandescent prose.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2011: When wounds and illnesses, both superficial and severe, begin emitting a beautiful shimmering light–a phenomenon quickly coined “The Illumination”–a chain of characters learn to adapt to this unexpected change in Kevin Brockmeier’s incandescent novel, The Illumination. No longer able hide their own pains from the world, and suddenly exposed to the discomfiting wounds of strangers, friends, and lovers, these characters struggle to adapt to a new way of experiencing life and, in very different ways, to understand the intrinsic connection between love and pain. “There was an ache inside people that seemed so wonderful sometimes,” one character muses. And then, because this ache is also corporeal, “He wished he had brought his camera with him.” While Brockmeier’s brilliant novel is innately tied up in pain and loss, witnessing the lives he creates in the midst of this new wonder is not only a beautiful experience but, yes, an illuminating one. —Lynette Mong
An interview with Kevin Brockmeier.