Blaire's Reviews > The Illumination

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier
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's review
Nov 06, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fiction-speculative

** spoiler alert ** It's hard to know how to rate this book. I'd give it 4 stars for the quality of the writing and for the interest of the concept. I'd give it 2 stars for what the author does with the concept and for how much I enjoyed it. Told in six sections as the stories of six people, it's unrelievedly dark; a catalog of the pain and brutalities to which we are subject. Life is certainly often painful, but even at its worst there are times of warmth and comfort. This book is entirely one-sided. It seems to me that visible pain, whether emotional or physical, would introduce possibilities about advances in health care and in the empathy we feel for each other. None of that. The author seems to be arguing that even if there is a God, he has either abandoned us or is sitting back coldly observing us. It's an extremely angry book. A thread of love is embodied in a book that makes its appearance in the initial scene and is then passed along from character to character. In the end it is thrown into the street and is demolished by an oncoming truck. I think that's effective in summing up the book's message.
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