Local author weaves a bright tale
Award-winning author Kevin Brockmeier said that “Writing novels is like driving a car at night; you only see as far as the headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
Sept. 20, Little Rock’s own Kevin Brockmeier came to speak at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall. His newest book, which came out in February is titled “The Illumination,” is a well written and unique piece of literature. Brockmeier gracefully intertwined a realistic world with a sense of something magnificent and otherworldly.
“The Illumination” tells the story of a world where human pain and suffering is emitted as a silvery-white light. The story of this odd occurrence comes from the point of view of several different characters: a photojournalist, an author, a school boy, a missionary, and a street vendor.
The book opens to a scene where Carol Ann Page accidentaly slices the tip of her thumb off while trying to open a box. While Page is at the hospital she notices a disc of light radiating from her thumb.
At first, she assumes she is hallucinating, but later Page hears a news reporter say that “from all around the world today we are receiving continuing reports of this strange occurrence: light, pouring from the injuries of the sick and the wounded.” The strange light, which is being referred to as “The Illumination,” is a worldwide event.
A woman in critical condition is placed in the bed next to Page’s at the hospital. Just before she dies, the woman, Patricia, gives Page a handwritten journal of love notes. Every morning Patricia’s husband, Jason Williford, would write on a post-it note one thing he loved about her.
The love notes were beautiful and said things like, “I love the lines that radiate from the corners of your eyes when you smile, and I’ll love them even more when they’re permanent, honey.” And “I love how you roll your eyes but can’t help smiling whenever I call you ‘honey.’”
That journal of love notes gets accidently passed between the characters so that the reader makes their way through the novel by tracing the path of the book. Brockmeier interestingly weaves the different love notes throughout the novel.
To promote his book, Brockmeier began a twitter account @illumination_bk where he, well Jason Williford, posts a different love note every day. He plans to continue posting for an entire year, and the old posts are still up for anyone to view.
This book is a treat for all different types of readers. It evokes fantasy and magic in a world that everyone can relate to. I highly recommend Kevin Brockmeier’s novel “The Illumination.” In fact, reading anything by Kevin Brockmeier will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting local arts, and that’s a good thing.