Kevin Brockmeier — The Illumination
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 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.