Dale Neal (Fiction ’89) on Is It So? Glyphs, Glimpses, and Found Novels by Kevin McIlvoy
Fiction alumn Dale Neal recently reviewed faculty member Kevin McIlvoy’s new book, Is It So? Glyphs, Glimpses, and Found Novels for Still: The Journal. Read an excerpt and find a link to the full text below:
A good writer can always envision the end for his characters and his books, but the exceptional artist can imagine even his own exit.
In the story “Cake All Day,” Kevin McIlvoy captures the whimsical conversation between a writer and an elderly sister-in-law living with Alzheimer’s at a senior facility. This odd couple talk about how much they enjoy cake and the eating of it in an easy yet unsentimental banter. But McIlvoy quickly raises the stakes of his story, inserting a literally heart-stopping moment.
“This particular April First was only different than the other days because on this day his heart would not start, would crank, crank-cough, almost rev, crank, stop, go silent, go down beyond recharging in the Center’s parking lot right after his visit with Dorothy Eva during which every cell of him had been recharged with life and had seemed to hold the charge but in one gasp-laugh-cough had gone silent.”
Fiction holds an uncanny mirror to life. Kevin McIlvoy, affectionately known as “Mc” to his family, friends, and students, died on September 30, 2022, felled by a heart attack while playing his favorite pastime on the tennis courts. He was 69 years old.
That summer, McIlvoy had put the finishing touches on this final collection Is It So? Glyphs, Glimpses and Found Novels now out from WTAW Press. Death is not far from these stories, but neither is Life itself. McIlvoy mourns his losses and fills the pages with his constant wonder and awe, the joy of being attentive to this strange world.
Continue reading here: Dale Neal | Still