The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier, Little Rock’s favorite hometown novelist, celebrates today’s release of his new novel “The Illumination” (Pantheon, hardcover, $24.95) this afternoon with a party and a book signing at WordsWorth from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

As he did in his 2006 novel “The Brief History of the Dead,” Brockmeier forms the conceit of his new book around a world-changing development, the origins of which are never explained. In this case, the six men and women that form the interwoven narrative find that one day, in an otherwise normal world, all human pain manifests itself as visible light: a leukemia sufferer radiates pain from all points in his body, a woman with ulcers shoots lasers from her mouth when she bites her lip, a man struggling with the loss of his wife tries to absorb pain in a “dreamlike vesper.”

Here’s a positive review from the LA Times.