Pantheon, Feb 1 2011, $24.95
One night just like any other suddenly The Illumination miraculously occurs as any wound on any person suddenly shines with a glow. The light shows how battered and bruised humanity truly is; as no one remains illuminated-free. During the beginning of The Illumination, Carol Ann is in the hospital due to a sliced off thumb. During anesthesia she bites her inner mouth adding a second injury. After surgery she shares a room with Patricia who along with her husband Jason were in a car accident due to ice. Patricia gives Carol Ann a book of love poems Jason wrote to his spouse. The woman assumes her husband is dead so she gives the book to Carol Ann before she dies.
Jason wants to see Carol Ann. Soon afterward battered child Chuck Carter breaks into Jason’s home and steals his journal of love. He passes the journal to evangelist Ryan Shifrin who wonders about humanity’s mental and physical sufferings under a benign God. The love tome soon passes on to Nina Poggione.
This is a powerful tale that focuses on humanity’s pain and suffering yet with a glimmer of hope as Kevin Brockmeier uses six degrees of separation to make a case that mankind is always tied together with one another even if it is for evanescent moments. The key to this tale that in some ways reads more like a short story collection as the focus shifts to the current book bearer is that the six prime stars seem real as each suffers from mental and physical injuries yet like The Illumination, Jason’s book of love shines through tying each to one another. Character driven, readers will appreciate the Illumination into the collective soul of mankind.