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A Million Heavens (McSweeney's Rectangulars) (edition 2012)

by John Brandon

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1114108,775 (3.8)9
Member:Berly
Title:A Million Heavens (McSweeney's Rectangulars)
Authors:John Brandon
Info:McSweeney's (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2012, Indiespensable Books, Music, Afterlife, Desert

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A Million Heavens by John Brandon

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Starkly beautiful, it moves slowly and builds rather than travels. It reflects the competing warmth and desolation of the desert. John Brandon handles the surreal elements with grace and balance, drawing the reader into a story rather than blinding him with flights of fantasy. ( )
  EricFitz08 | Apr 27, 2013 |
A wolf scouts a group of people, the people observe a vigil for a boy in a coma. His father observes them as well. A few of the vigilers have parts of their stories told, which brings in a dead young man facing changes in a beautiful holding room, another man works at an observatory, waiting for (and not believing in) audible signals from outer space. The wolf has some concern about life, the dead man about music and love, the mayor about just about everything, and a young woman who comes to the vigils tries to get on with her life. A wonderful book that wanders through each of their lives, bringing the reader along for ther ride. ( )
  tcw | Apr 5, 2013 |
First of all, you really should read this one, but if there ever was a book out there that was hard to describe...this would be it. So, here goes nothing.

Set in the small town of Lofte, outside of Albuquerque, this novel has a wide cast of colorful characters. There is Soren, a young boy who fell into a coma after brilliantly playing the piano for the first time. A fanatical group of well-wishers hold vigil outside the hospital, among them is Cecelia. She is a former member of a band called "Shirt of Apes" and she loves and misses Reggie, her bandmate, now dead and caught in a holding cell in the afterlife, writing songs for his freedom. Then let's not forget Dannie, a woman who has left behind her entire previous life in CA and soon meets her younger boyfriend, Arn, who may just be the wiser of the two. Oh! And then there is also the Mayor of a dying town and the music-haunted wolf. A wolf? Let me excerpt some of the author's answers as to why he wanted a wolf as one of the characters (from an interview by Powell's Indiespensable Books).

Brandon: "I'm not going to have any kind of good answer for that. {Laughter} I can't remember when he came about, but he was one of the later characters...I don't think I got interested in him until I realized that maybe he was immortal. Then, I saw an arc for him. All I knew at the beginning with him was that he was losing instinct and gaining knowledge...I knew that he had something to do with music."

This is the third book by Brandon. I have not read his first two, but rumor has it A Million Heavens has the same deadpan humor and lyrical prose, but warmer characters with a lighter story. All I can say is that I loved it. Beautiful, poetic, surprising. The characters are flawed and quirky and engrossing. Some of them have back stories and some of them don't. Their stories intertwine in unexpected ways and we share their hunger and pain. We root for the lovers and for the boy. Music resonates throughout this book, but it is also filled with the beauty of silence, the desert at night beneath the stars. ( )
2 vote Berly | Jan 19, 2013 |
worth my time ( )
  kitber | Jan 8, 2013 |
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A comatose piano prodigy is attended by his gruff father, a motley vigil of devotees, a disconsolate wolf, and a would-be angel who determinedly writes songs that could free him.

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