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The Sensational New Novel Known as "The Illumination" (Encore presentation.)

By Rich Fisher

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kwgs/local-kwgs-975182.mp3

Tulsa, Oklahoma – (Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) On this edition of our show, we speak with the imaginative, prolific, and widely acclaimed Little Rock-based writer Kevin Brockmeier, who tells us about his new novel, "The Illumination," which has been getting rave reviews. The following "starred review" of Brockmeier's latest novel, as written by Donna Seaman, appeared in Booklist: "Suddenly, beams of light begin to shoot out of people's bodies. Wounds are incandescent. Hidden diseases shine through skin in 'a glittering pathology.' It's terrifying, eerie, and sublime. The media convulses. Photographers capture astonishing images. There are no secrets now. Right 'before the light struck,' Carol Ann is hospitalized. The dying woman in the bed next to her gives Carol Ann a journal in which she has transcribed the daily love notes her husband left her. The notes read like poems of passionate attention and are gathered in an entrancing book of hope that becomes a talisman as it is handed from stranger to stranger in an elliptical plot of unforeseen connections. The journal comes into the hands of a teenage girl who has learned to inflict physical pain to ease psychic torment. A gentle boy traumatized by his father's cruelty. A writer whose mouth ulcers flare like torches. A homeless man. A missionary who travels the world, barely escaping deadly catastrophes. Known for his border-crossings between realistic and speculative fiction, Brockmeier is transcendent here. The 'Illumination,' a dazzling manifestation of torment, seems holy, yet does it engender enlightenment? Can pain be beautiful? Is there meaning in suffering? This is a radiant, bewitching, and profoundly inquisitive novel of sorrow, perseverance, and wonderment."