Maybe I am crazy, but…

…I swear that one of my old roommates has been written into this novel.

Evidence that I’m not crazy:

My old roommate kind of knows Kevin Brockmeier. Back when my roommate and I brewed tea and read lit mags all night, she  came across one of his stories that so captivated her, she decided to write him some fan mail. At the time, I thought she was crazy: Back then, someone published in a lit mag seemed famous. The writer had to have their shit together, their structure bulletproof, their characters perfectly flawed to get into a literary magazine. Name in print. Hundreds, maybe a thousand copies of their story floating around. Strangers reading their work in the middle of the night. She might as well have been writing a movie star.

You guessed it: he wrote back. What can I say? Writers like to write. They developed a semi-regular correspondance.  A few weeks ago, my friend was driving across the country and decided to have coffee with the author, finally meet in person. He gave her a copy of his new novel, The Illumination. When she stopped at my house, I read the jacket blurb, and it sounded good, so I picked up a copy of the novel. As I was reading, I came across a character description that sounded exactly like my friend.

Evidence that I am crazy:
The part that I think is my old roommate? Yeah, it’s one sentence long:

And maybe you’re thinking, “That’s kind of a generic sentence, Amaris. Coucou, cuckoo.”


She used to talk about her usage of horrible/harrible so much that in one essay I wrote, I used it as a part of her character description.

And when I read  the sentence, I had that cellular-level buzz of recognition, instant knowing that my old roommate must have written him about horrible/harrible. I’m still waiting for confirmation, but I feel it.

Along with feeling that Little Truth, I have to admit that I also felt something like dealing with the surreal. Someone I know! In one line in a novel! By a famous person! She might as well be famous herself, in my eyes. In print. Immortalized, as they say.

So now I’m reading the novel, wondering if I’ll bump into her again. Maybe some other piece of her is nestled in a dependent clause. Maybe it’s toward the end. Maybe I’d seem just as sane if I’d told you that when you take the 3rd letter of every 25th page, it spells out word that rhymes with her name.

Anyway, the book is excellent. Buy it or tell your library to buy it so you can check it out.





*I should note that if you are thinking about writing an author fan mail, be careful who you chose. I had another friend who wrote to Sue Grafton, of mystery novel fame, and received a very nasty letter in response. Apparently Grafton can’t deal with the mystery of how anyone can find your home address through a Google search.


  • Jason Sommer jason says:

    d*mn! i was literally holding this book in my hand yesterday, walking through one of the last extant borders in america. i rationalized not spending the $6 it would have cost by telling myself i was unemployed & really knew nothing about the book. but now i do know something. and now i kinda want to go back & get it.

    • Amaris Amaris says:

      it’s good. brockmeier excels at writing woven narratives and female characters. his stories have a magical quality to them–light shining from wounds, a city of the remembered dead disappearing during an epidemic… you’d probably get a kick out reading him.

  • Jimmy says:

    Have you received confirmation? I want, no need, to know.

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