John Brandon: Indiespensable

Powell's Indiespensable Volume #35 is John Brandon's A Million Heavens (McSweeneys). You get a signed, slip-cased, limited first edition of this title if you subscribe before August 8, 2012. (price: $40)

About A Million Heavens:
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. (Product Description)

Brandon well deserves his role of indie literature's rising star. His southern drawl bleeds through into his sparse but lyrical prose, at times reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy; his plots pack a punch....[He] is a master at spinning a yarn. Be prepared to stay up late with this one!" —Library Journal
About John Brandon:

Brandon is a graduate of the creative writing program at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. His debut, Arkansas has been described as 'dark' and 'quirky' - it got mixed reviews, not, it appears, because it wasn't smartly written or cohesive, but because the characters he writes about aren't redeemable - they're bad guys, and some people need characters to root for.  Brandon style is that of "dirty realism" (coined by John Hood of the Miami Sun Post). If you like bare bones structure and gritty story lines, you'll probably love Brandon, if not, you might want to steer clear.

His second book, Citrus County is equally gritty - about teenage love gone awry, quickly snowballing into a true-crime story. Again, mixed reviews (don't make the mistake some readers did and think this is a Young Adult book - it's not).

A Million Heavens is Brandon's third novel.

Arkansas (McSweeneys Rectangulars, March 1, 2008).

Signed firsts run from $45-$175 (depending on seller); unsigned can still be acquired for $10 - $40.

Citrus County (McSweeneys Rectangulars, July 6, 2010).

The first printing for this one was rather small and sold out quickly. First/firsts start at about $40 (unsigned); $85-$125 (signed).

A Million Heavens (McSweeneys Rectangulars, July 3, 2012).

I don't know how large the print run is for this one. So far there are not many out on the market. I found one listing for a signed first @ $40 (not the Indiespensable edition), and one listing for an unsigned first @ $29.99 (on Amazon).

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,