Books by Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier is the author of The Truth About Celia and a children’s book, City of Names. He has published stories in The Georgia Review, The Carolina Quarterly, and McSweeney’s, and his story “Space” from Things That Fall from the Sky has been select


A FEW SECONDS OF RADIANT FILMSTRIP by Kevin Brockmeier
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2014

"Often charming, occasionally moving, but mainly a book about not much that hasn't happened to pretty much everyone and which pretty much everyone has survived."
A portrait of the author as a seventh-grader who's a little more sensitive but otherwise not much different than most. Read full book review >
THE ILLUMINATION by Kevin Brockmeier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

"More illumination than revelation."
A soft-hearted spiritual parable that aims for beguiling but succumbs to cloying. Read full book review >
THE VIEW FROM THE SEVENTH LAYER by Kevin Brockmeier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 18, 2008

"Gossamer inventiveness: the work of a consummate stylist whose chosen limits are the source of his quirky fiction's truest strengths."
A collection of 13 dreamy, fantasy-inflected stories from the Arkansas author (The Brief History of the Dead, 2006, etc). Read full book review >
GROOVES by Kevin Brockmeier
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2006

The author of the oddball City of Names (2002) comes up with an even loonier premise: a small-town seventh-grader discovering a cry for help embedded in his jeans. Fooling around with an old gramophone, Dwayne is astounded to hear a voice when he runs the needle down his pants: "Please. You must help us. He's stealing the light from our eyes." An ensuing investigation leads to the nearby factory complex of local tycoon Howard Thigpen—where indeed all the workers seem to be walking around like zombies. Tongue so firmly in cheek that it needs a "Wide Load" sign, the author festoons his storyscape with toss-offs, from a comics-reading science teacher with 15,000 copies of the same record, to a Ford Madox Ford dealership, and a bad guy with a rhinestone fetish. As it turns out, the mysterious voice does not lie: Deranged Thigpen has a machine that literally sucks the sparks of personality from its victims. What to do? Despite a thicket of unresolved plotlines, this sophomore outing has enough internal logic (of a daft sort) to hold together, and fans of such wacky fantasies as Kathy Mackel's will be delighted. (Fantasy. 11-13)Read full book review >
THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD by Kevin Brockmeier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 14, 2006

"After a charming first chapter that imagines highly individual 'crossings' to the other side, a novelistic virus called 'The Flicks' debilitates the rest."
What if those enjoying the afterlife require for their continuing existence being remembered by Earthlings? Read full book review >
THE TRUTH ABOUT CELIA by Kevin Brockmeier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 8, 2003

"Beautifully composed vignettes about loss and mortality by an emerging author devoted to his craft."
A slender, shimmering first novel in stories totters precariously between fact and fiction in the voice of a grieving father who tries to make sense of his young daughter's disappearance. Read full book review >
THINGS THAT FALL FROM THE SKY by Kevin Brockmeier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 26, 2002

"A promising first collection, showcasing a new writer's significant powers of invention—though he seems merely to be tuning his instrument for future work."
The sky is falling, the world is ending, and Rumpelstiltskin is going to pieces in this intriguing but unfulfilling debut collection. Read full book review >
CITY OF NAMES by Kevin Brockmeier
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2001

A fifth-grader discovers that there's far more to his small town than meets the eye in this offbeat children's debut. When Howie's school book club order arrives, instead of 101 Pickle Jokes, he gets The Secret Guide To North Mellwood—a fold-out map with recognizable buildings bearing strange labels: his home, for instance, is "Guddle," the local video parlor, "Hurdy-Gurdy." According to the instructions, all he has to do is rap on the eponymous statue outside Larry Boone Elementary School, and speak this "true name" to be instantly teleported there. To his delight, it works, though each trip produces a rotten-egg smell as a side effect; in no time, he and friends Kevin and Casey are zipping off to the arcade at night to rack up humongous scores, and the like. Then the next book order brings an Addendum, a plastic overlay with far more intriguing destinations, including an underwater chamber full of babies where Howie has a conversation with his about-to-be-born little sister, and the subterranean digs of Larry Boone himself, a half-legendary figure in town history who not only admits inventing the transportation system, but demonstrates that he knows—well, everything about everybody. Brockmeier never troubles to explain any of this, but to keep it all from getting entirely too strange, he folds in a bully, a budding romance, and other conventions. The result is a giddy but enjoyable ride with a whiff of mystery (as well as sulfur) that may leave readers regarding their own supposedly ordinary neighborhoods with new eyes. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >