Man, it's gotta be so gratifying to be a McSweeney's-published author, at least from a design standpoint: John Brandon's new book A Million Heavens is gorgeous. (The Indiespensable version is even prettier.) Brandon is reading at the downtown Powell's tonight; we've got a review of A Million Heavens in the paper this week:
A WOLF IS ONE of the many protagonists in the new John Brandon novel, A Million Heavens. It's a surprising turn from Brandon, a young master of gritty, funny, uncomfortably human Americana. His first two novels, Arkansas and Citrus County, are real, almost mean stories of rootless criminals and delinquents, human beings with deep faults and sad, moving attempts at redemption.
The brilliant thing about A Million Heavens is the way it juggles humanity, wilderness, and a new element for Brandon—the supernatural. One of the protagonists is a wolf, yes, but one of the others (there are at least eight) is a dead man idly writing love songs from an inscrutable afterlife. It's the effect of those songs, mystically transmitted to the world, that holds the disparate strands of the novel together.
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