Radiance - A Novel by Phil Kenney
 
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Phil Kenney

Phil Kenney is a practicing psychotherapist in Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and two teenage sons. He is the author of four books of poetry, including Hours of Blue and Hymns for the Speechless.

ďShe would be happy to leave this world dressed for the occasion. He imagined her taking the Lord of Death by the arm and walking like a lady into the mist.Ē†

Praise for Radiance

Although often nostalgic, the book never romanticizes the morbidity on its pages. Its short sentences and subtle repetitions build into crescendos of poetry and flourishes of magical realism. A beautifully written, slow-paced reflection on a 20th-century family.

Kirkus Reviews

 

This remarkable first novel, which is both thought-provoking and lyrical, is a joy to read.† Itís many facets range from the multi-generational story of a family, to coming of age in the Ď60s, to the biography of a lovely woman, and so much more.† Itís satisfyingly complex yet completely accessible.† The author ponders with us the age-old questions that are part of the human experience, and gives us glimpses of possibilities that come as close to the answers as Iíve found, while grounding the prose in the struggles and delights of everyday life that we can each identify with.† Psyches are laid bare in a frank, stingingly honest way, yet with a compassion and care that is touching and tender.† This book weaves a rich tapestry that Iíll enjoy reading again, and perhaps yet again; it deserves a place on the bookshelf of every thoughtful library.

Nancy Wolf, Author and Editor

 

Radiance takes the reader on a multigenerational Magical Mystery Tour with the Brennan family through the turbulent years of mid-20th century U.S.A.† Utilizing equal parts stark tragedy and rollicking comedy, Phil Kenney tells a sensitive, soul-searching tale nestled in the context of family interactions and societal struggles.† The authorís flowing poetic style as well as his generous but penetrating elucidation of family dynamics make for a pleasure to read and a profound visceral experience.† Perhaps the best that can be said about a novel is that it leaves the person who has finished reading it not quite the same person as the one who began reading it.† That was my experience with Radiance.† This novel is truly deserving of a broad readership.

Dr. Gary Smith, Psychiatrist and Artist

 

This is an eloquent and powerful piece of writing.† The entire arc of the story seems right as Phil Kenney weaves together heart-breaking scenes with a dying mother, spiritual quests in California, and the loss of a brother, all of it elaborated by an exposition of the times by way of such cultural icons as Dagwood Bumstead and Perry Mason.† Throughout the novel, the language is strong, vivid, and poetic. There is a Castaneda-like, hallucinatory quality to the last half of the book when an amazingly rich, multi-generational, mystical, and profound personal journey through time and space is elaborated on with the utmost of care. †I whole-heartedly recommend this book.

Rob Bibler, Artist and former chair of the Chemeketa Community College Art Department

 

This literary, poetic and openhearted novel is a tribute to the magic of where we come from, who we love, and ultimately, who we are. Radiance is a compelling exploration of the emotions and spiritual mystery at the heart of family and personal experience. Phil is able to bring the reader into an intimacy of individual and family dynamics that is only possible due to his deep understanding of psychological life from his own experience as a psychotherapist and patient, his spiritual mastery, and from the courage to explore the unknown territories of our family and personal shadow. This moving, beautiful, open-hearted book celebrates the wonders and joys of life.

Dr. Larry Christensen, Psychoanalyst and Director of the Portland Zen Center

 

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