The Illumination

By Kevin Brockmeier
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375425318, 272pp.)

Publication Date: February 1, 2011

List Price: $24.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2011 Indie Next List
“Brockmeier's latest novel weaves together disparate voices in a stunning meditation on pain and beauty. Like the best speculative fiction, it wields the paranormal to show us a very present truth. The Illumination is a reminder that, no matter how dramatically the world changes around us, people are and always will be people - and that there is a brightness in that, regardless of our failings.”
-- Jenn Northington, WORD, Brooklyn, NY


Description

What if our pain was the most beautiful thing about us?
 
From best-selling and award-winning author Kevin Brockmeier: a new novel of stunning artistry and imagination about the wounds we bear and the light that radiates from us all.
 
At 8:17 on a Friday night, the Illumination commences. Every wound begins to shine, every bruise to glow and shimmer. And in the aftermath of a fatal car accident, a private journal of love notes, written by a husband to his wife, passes into the keeping of a hospital patient and from there through the hands of five other suffering people, touching each of them uniquely.
 
I love the soft blue veins on your wrist. I love your lopsided smile. I love watching TV and shelling sunflower seeds with you.
 
The six recipients—a data analyst, a photojournalist, a schoolchild, a missionary, a writer, and a street vendor—inhabit an acutely observed, beautifully familiar yet particularly strange universe, as only Kevin Brockmeier could imagine it: a world in which human pain is expressed as illumination, so that one’s wounds glitter, fluoresce, and blaze with light. As we follow the journey of the book from stranger to stranger, we come to understand how intricately and brilliantly they are connected, in all their human injury and experience.




About the Author

Kevin Brockmeier is the author of the novels The View from the Seventh Layer, The Brief History of the Dead, The Truth About CeliaThings That Fall from the Sky, and two children's novels. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, McSweeney's, The Oxford American, The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories and Granta's Best of Young American Novelists, among other publications. He has taught at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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