A Million Heavens
Mcsweeney's Literary Arts Fund
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.