Author(s): Kent Wascom
It is 1861, and Angel Woolsack is a Confederate about to breathe his last, as the Union forces make their inexorable approach. Rejected by his wife, his wealth no longer useful to him, he sets about recording his testament. His story is that of a preacher's son, who flees the hardscrabble life of his itinerant father and falls in with a charismatic highwayman. The novel moves from the bordellos of Natchez to the Mississippi plantations, and finally to the back rooms of New Orleans where would-be revolutionaries are plotting to break away from the young United States. The Blood of Heaven is a remarkable portrait of a young man seizing his place in a violent new world.
Get ready for an epic debut novel of insurrection and ambition, love and revenge, set in fledgling independent America. This astonishing debut is reminiscent of the finest of early Cormac McCarthy.
A genuine American historical epic D.J. Taylor Every page of Kent Wascom's debut, The Blood of Heaven, struck me with its beauty and ugliness... This is not, like most novels, a glimpse of a life. It is a life. Esquire A bold, brilliant debut... It's the work of a young writer with tremendous ambition, a bildungsroman of religion and revolution... Wascom writes with a fire-breathing, impassioned eloquence. The Washington Post Compelling. Wascom's writing rolls from the page in torrents, like the sermon of a revivalist preacher in the grip of inspiration. You can't help listening, no matter how wicked the message. The Wall Street Journal An astonishingly assured debut... He is more knowing than a writer his age has any right to be and displays a virtuosic command of biblical cadence and anachronistic vernacular without striking any false notes. San Francisco Chronicle With its setting, its violence-driven plot and its resonant and often harshly beautiful language, The Blood of Heaven evokes comparison to the work of Cormac McCarthy... Kent Wascom is a striking new voice in American fiction. Miami Herald Oh America, heartbroken and constantly fought over! The Blood of Heaven is a dark hymn to the ruthless and ruinous early days in the Louisiana fringes of our republic. In the tradition of As I Lay Dying and Flannery O'Connor and Blood Meridian, idiomatic and far off into transgression, this one, from Kent Wascom, bless his genius, is the real deal. William Kittredge Wascom is a craftsman, and each of his lengthy, winding sentences shimmers with the tang of blood and bone and sweat, and the archaic splendor of his language. Boston Globe The Blood of Heaven entertains with its energetic language and fast-paced action, and the love story between Angel and his wife is moving in its you-and-me-against-the-world naivete. Wascom's research is put to good use as the gargantuan forces of history squash Angel and his associates. New York Times Book Review An exceptionally eloquent and assured debut. The Sunday Times
Kent Wascom was born in New Orleans in 1986, and spent his childhood in Louisiana and Florida. He attended Louisiana State University and received his MFA from Florida State University. In 2012, he won the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for fiction for The Blood of Heaven.