The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The rating of this novel was really quite difficult for me because I felt that it was a very mixed bag. It was very readable and fairly interesting overall. But, it was uneven and there were times when I just wanted to put the book down and walk away. Not because it was bad but because it just wasn't good. I was sucked right in at the start but somewhere along the way, Kevin Brockmeier lost me. I just slowly began to care less and less and less. In the end, its hard to say it was a bad book because I don't think it was bad. I just don't think its great.
To his credit, Kevin Brockmeier is a fantastic writer! The actual writing is beautiful and wonderful to read. And the idea of having physical wounds illuminate is really interesting and unique. I liked what the novel seemed to be saying about pain and beauty - I thought that was an interesting exploration. Unfortunately, the overall flaws made the exploration less impactful as I think it could have been because I began to quickly disengage as it became less and less interesting to me.
This is hard to explain but it felt to me as if the novel began in one place but meandered around and around and around into new places and territories, making me wonder why we didn't just stay in the place we began because that place was interesting!
In the end, I just cannot recommend this novel. Someone else mentioned in their review that this book was unremarkable and frankly I have to agree. It just isn't worth the time and energy given the thousands of books out there waiting for me.
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