The View from the Seventh Layer
By Kevin Brockmeier
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375425301, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 18, 2008
List Price: $21.95*
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Kevin Brockmeier--award -winning author of The Brief History of the Dead--has been widely praised for the richness of his imagination, the lyrical grace and playfulness of his language, and the empathic emotional complexity of his storytelling. And this dazzling collection once again affirms his place as one of the most creative and compassionate writers of his generation.
In the haunting title story, a young, asocial woman remembers the oddly honest things she wrote in her high school classmates' yearbooks and contemplates her scarred life, imagining an escape with an apparition she calls the Entity. In "Father John Melby and the Ghost of Amy Elizabeth," a formerly dull and turgid pastor is touched by a spirit that turns his sermons into crowd-pleasers--that is, until he discovers his inspiration is a little less than divine. "The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device" is a gorgeous homage to the classic, young readers' choose-your-own-adventure novels. But this one is for grown-ups who can navigate through imagery and dead ends, and toward a resolution that only Kevin Brockmeier could have invented. From the fantastical to the concrete, the range of this collection is breathtaking. It moves fluidly, finding beauty in the quiet, often overlooked corners of the world.
By turns daring and moving, The View from the Seventh Layer is crafted with the remarkable voice and vision that have become hallmarks of Brockmeier's acclaimed fiction.
Kevin Brockmeier is the author of The Brief History of the Dead, The Truth About Celia, Things That Fall from the Sky, and two children's novels. He has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, McSweeney's and Oxford American, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.