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A Million Heavens
Cover of A Million Heavens
A Million Heavens
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On the top floor of a small hospital, an unlikely piano prodigy lies in a coma, attended to by his gruff, helpless father. Outside the clinic, a motley vigil assembles beneath a reluctant New Mexico winter—strangers in search of answers, a brush with the mystical, or just an escape. To some the boy is a novelty, to others a religion. Just beyond this ragtag circle roams a disconsolate wolf on his nightly rounds, protecting and threatening, learning too much. And above them all, a would-be angel sits captive in a holding cell of the afterlife, finishing the work he began on earth, writing the songs that could free him. This unlikely assortment—a small-town mayor, a vengeful guitarist, all the unseen desert lives—unites to weave a persistently hopeful story of improbable communion.

Upon the release of John Brandon's last novel, Citrus County, the New York Times declared that he "joins the ranks of writers like Denis Johnson, Joy Williams, Mary Robison and Tom Drury." Now, with A Million Heavens, Brandon brings his deadpan humor and hard-won empathy to a new realm of gritty surrealism—a surprising and exciting turn from one of the best young novelists of our time.
On the top floor of a small hospital, an unlikely piano prodigy lies in a coma, attended to by his gruff, helpless father. Outside the clinic, a motley vigil assembles beneath a reluctant New Mexico winter—strangers in search of answers, a brush with the mystical, or just an escape. To some the boy is a novelty, to others a religion. Just beyond this ragtag circle roams a disconsolate wolf on his nightly rounds, protecting and threatening, learning too much. And above them all, a would-be angel sits captive in a holding cell of the afterlife, finishing the work he began on earth, writing the songs that could free him. This unlikely assortment—a small-town mayor, a vengeful guitarist, all the unseen desert lives—unites to weave a persistently hopeful story of improbable communion.

Upon the release of John Brandon's last novel, Citrus County, the New York Times declared that he "joins the ranks of writers like Denis Johnson, Joy Williams, Mary Robison and Tom Drury." Now, with A Million Heavens, Brandon brings his deadpan humor and hard-won empathy to a new realm of gritty surrealism—a surprising and exciting turn from one of the best young novelists of our time.
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About the Author-
  • John Brandon was raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. His favorite recreational activity is watching college football. This is his third novel.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 7, 2012
    Brandon explores strange territory in his third novel (after Citrus County), artfully braiding the narratives of several souls wandering the desert around Lofte, N.Mex. A college girl named Cecelia, who “felt off the grid, away from herself even,” begins hearing songs she suspects her dead band mate Reggie is sending from the great beyond. At night, she holds vigil with strangers beneath the hospital window of Soren, a young boy who, during his first piano lesson, had played an impromptu masterpiece heretofore unheard, and then had fallen into a sudden coma. His father sits patiently by his bed, awaiting his awakening. A wolf, hungry for knowledge and losing its instinct, slows his nightly rounds to listen beneath Cecelia’s window as she channels Reggie’s songs. Even in death, Reggie holds a vigil of sorts where musical instruments are provided, but reasons for his life and death are not. Though Brandon occasionally verges on cloying fabulism, he deftly renders a desert wilderness where human hearts are compelled to seek isolation from the pains of the world, but tend to find connectedness despite themselves. Agent: Amy Williams, McCormick & Williams.

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    McSweeney's
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