illlumination by Kevin BrockmeierKevin Brockmeier is something of a writer's writer—his two adult novels and two short story collections have generated a lot of critical buzz and solid sales, but despite being deemed one of the best young American novelists by Granta in 2007—and one of the best debut novelists of 2003 by BookPage—he's far from a household name. Maybe that will change this February with the release of The Illumination (Pantheon), a third novel that once again imbues life as we know it with a dash of magic.

From the publisher:

What if our pain was the most beautiful thing about us? 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 photojour nalist, 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.

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