Kent Wascom Secessia: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780802124968

Secessia: A Novel

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9780802124968: Secessia: A Novel

From the immensely talented author of The Blood of Heaven comes a gothic portrait of a city ravaged by war and struck by vice and disease Civil War New Orleans. With his virtuosic, richly historical prose, Wascom carves a tale of insurrection and ill-advised romance, spanning one year in the city at the heart of Secessia, the rebellious just-conquered south.

New Orleans, May 1862. The largest city in the confederacy has fallen to Union troops under the soon-to-be-infamous General Benjamin the Beast” Butler. When twelve-year-old Joseph Woolsack disappears from his home, he terrifies his mother, Elise, a mixed-race woman passing for white, and enrages his father, Angel, whose long and wicked life is drawing to a close. What follows forces mother and son into a dark new world: Joseph must come to grips with his father’s legacy of violence and his growing sentiment for Cuban exile Marina Fandal, the only survivor of a shipwreck that claimed the lives of her parents. Elise must struggle to maintain a hold on her sanity, her son, and her own precarious station, but is threatened by the resurgence of a troubling figure from her past, Dr. Emile Sabatier, a fanatical physician who adores disease and is deeply mired in the conspiracy and intrigue surrounding the occupation of the city. Their paths all intersect with General Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts, a man who history will call a beast, but whose avarice and brutal acumen are ideally suited to the task of governing an ungovernable city.”

A haunting tale of greed and malformed love, of slavery and desperation, Secessia weaves a vivid tapestry of a dark period in New Orleans’s turbulent history.

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About the Author:

Kent Wascom s first novel, "The Blood of Heaven," was named a best book of the year by the "Washington Post" and NPR. It was a semifinalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan Award for First Fiction. Wascom was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for Fiction. He lives in Louisiana."

Review:

Praise for Secessia:

A Publishers Weekly Book of the Week
A Houston Chronicle Summer Pick


[A] vivid portrait of 1862 New Orleans . . . Smoke is still rising off Kent Wascom’s spectacular debut, The Blood of Heaven (2013), but this young author is already roaring back with a sequel . . . With his rust-tooth style and flare for brutality, Wascom is one of the most exhilarating historical novelists in the country . . . This is a Gothic tale of revolution broken, rebels crippled, passions smothered but not extinguished . . . Wascom, who was born in New Orleans, has justly been compared to Cormac McCarthy, but the spirit of his new novel is touched by the lurid energy of Anne Rice and Joyce Carol Oates and even Edgar Allen Poe.” Ron Charles, Washington Post

Five characters share what happened when New Orleans fell to Union troops in 1862, bringing the largest city in the Confederacy under the control of brutal general Benjamin The Beast’ Butler.” Entertainment Weekly (Summer Book Preview)

Wascom’s second novel takes place in beguiling, fetid, and unruly New Orleans in the year 1862, as the city is overtaken by Union troops. . . . Though most of the characters are as passionate, selfish, and greedy as the city itself, Wascom makes every one of them a pleasure to read, effortlessly inhabiting each of their specific psychologies. . . . This is such a good yarn that readers will be totally on board with the whole rambunctious package.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The stunning opening scene sets the pace for this fascinating saga. . . . The narrative achieves an exquisite counterbalance of five shifting points of view . . . Wascom has hit his stride with this deftly descriptive historical treasure. The plot illuminates little-known areas of history and culture . . . Highly recommended for historical fiction readers.” Library Journal (starred review)

No town is as atmospheric as New Orleans none except for Kent Wascom’s New Orleans, that is, which is so real you smell the perfume of ladies, the crimes of men, the swamps of culture. Secessia is a history lesson, a bouquet of fine pleasures, writing as rich as the South, a dazzling cavalcade of colorful, deep, and often deeply troubled characters coming together at the moment the city’s grand history stopped and its destiny was set in motion.” Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy for Love and Life Among Giants

While some writers approach history with patience and respect, Kent Wascom prefers to take it by storm. His vivid characters, male and female, young and old, powerful and passionate, brawling and bleeding, leap from the page with such energy that one does not so much look back at them as make way for them. This is the undead past clawing down the present with a force only a novelist of unfettered imagination and great joy in life could set free among us. Kent Wascom has been likened to Faulkner and McCarthy, and his fire-breathing, idiosyncratic style stands up to that comparison. Secessia should be greeted with trumpets and fanfare. I haven’t read a novel this exciting in a long, long time.” Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste and Property

So much historical fiction seems posed almost as if it must bend to fit the genre but the writing here feels more like a necessity. Secessia reads like an outpouring of fascination and love for the past . . . solidifies Kent Wascom’s unique place in the literary landscape.” River City Reading

One of the hot new names in American fiction is Kent Wascom, a 27-year-old Louisiana native fascinated with the tangled history and dark psyche of the Deep South . . . Beginning with his 2013 debut, The Blood of Heaven, Wascom has used that brutal flair and a lush prose style to begin what will likely be a decades-long project of demythologizing chunks of 19th-century American history . . . Secessia gives Wascom, who was born in New Orleans, a chance to examine some deep-seated Southern obsessions with race, white privilege, and an addiction to lost causes and bankrupt symbols that are still playing out today.” AL.com

Passions and intrigue run high, while fascinating characters attempt to pick their way through the volatile landscape.” MLive.com (Books for the upcoming holiday season)

Praise for The Blood of Heaven:

Shortlisted for the David J. Langum Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction
Longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan Award for First Fiction
One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Summer Books of 2013
A Spirit Summer Reading Pick

When you read as many contemporary novels as I do, it's easy to get jaundiced, because we're awash in hype, and almost nothing ever seems quite as good as it's cracked up to be. So please know that I'm not just giving this young author a pass. I truly can count on the fingers of one hand the number of first novels that have ever excited me this much. Wascom made me think at times of Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier and William Gay, but his vision is very much his own, as is his extraordinary voice. He's left himself a hard act to follow. This book is pure gold.” Steve Yarbrough

The young Master Wascom arrives at our gates wielding a narrative broadsword, speaking in a monstrous voice, a Louisiana visionary in command of an army of bones and by God he comes to conquer. It’s been more than a decade since the literary world has seen such a portentous debut from a novelist prodigy, equal parts savage and savant, and what else is there to say but All hail the future this boy king has fifty more years of writing to feed our hungry souls." Bob Shacochis

Young Kent Wascom went down to the crossroads and there he made his deal. Or maybe he was just born spirited for this kind of work. Either way, I cannot name such a stunning debut as this one. It reads as not written, but lived and remembered and how impossible is that? Whoever may own Kent Wascom’s soul, The Blood of Heaven will forever be ours.” Robert Olmstead

The Blood of Heaven is a brilliant comic rant that, with its twisted religious fervor, holds on to the reader and does not let go. Kent Wascom takes a nugget of colonial history the Aaron Burr Conspiracy and imbues it with a fiery life. His is a singular, important, and utterly vital voice.” Sabina Murray

In the present age of cultural strife and national re-definition, a brilliantly resonant novel blooming from America’s ever-thus history is just what the zeitgeist deserves. And The Blood of Heaven is as achingly beautiful in its personal story as it is savagely clear-headed in its national story. Kent Wascom has arrived fully-formed as a very important American writer.” Robert Olen Butler

Oh America, heart-broken 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 sentances shimmers with the tang of blood and bone and sweat, and the archaic splendor of his language.” Boston Globe

Rendered in lurid, swamp-fever prose swollen with biblical imagery (Burr first appears in the book on horseback, hailed like Christ Himself’), the South of Mr. Wascom's imagination is an inferno of plague, vice and slave trafficking. . . . It's that dizzying pace, especially as Angel sets off on a Tarantino-esque rampage of revenge killings, that makes the book so compelling. Mr. 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.” Wall Street Journal

Though he’s not yet 30, Mr. Wascom has the gift, the elusive it” that tells you on the first page that here is someone worth reading. . . . In its best moments, and there are many, you will slip completely into Wascom’s fictional world. . . . You will also be in the presence of a young writer whose talent is obvious, whose sense of narrative is classical and clear, whose understanding of the craft is deep and well-formed and will only get better.” New York Journal of Books

[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 naïveté. Wascom’s research is put to good use as the gargantuan forces of history squash Angel and his associates.” New York Times Book Review

The work of a young writer with tremendous ambition, a bildungsroman of religion and revolution set during an obscure chapter of American history. . . . [Wascom] creates a first-person narrator who speaks with fire-breathing eloquence, tormented by God and the Devil and equally conversant with both. . . . Wascom writes with a fire-breathing, impassioned eloquence. Angel’s voice compels our trust from the beginning and echoes all the ghosts of the dark Southern past.” Washington Post

If you thought the Wild West was wild, wait until you read about West Florida. In Kent Wascom’s stunning debut novel that territory serves as microcosm of a nation’s dark and violent infancy. . . . 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. Its mordant humor and its exploration of slavery and violence as the tragic flaws at the heart of American history as well as its awareness of what hellish danger awaits those who are sure God is on their side recall such writers as William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Mark Twain. Angel is a terrifying and irresistible narrator, and Kent Wascom is a striking new voice in American fiction.” Miami Herald

Wascom's West Florida makes the Old West look like a Disney resort in comparison, and his protagonist is a fitting emissary for this harsh and unforgiving land. . . . Whether describing a tender moment between husband and wife or a brutal revenge killing, there's no question of Wascom's range. . . . There is plenty here to applaud in this grim portrait of a dysfunctional frontier family caught up in a forgotten American war.” NPR Books

Kent Wascom, a 26-year-old Louisiana native, has produced 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

Wascom’s setting fascinates, while the veneer of violence makes us eager spectators in this narrative of American conquest and survival. . . . Ultimately, Wascom skirts around Faulkner’s Mississippi, O’Connor’s Georgia, and McCarthy’s divided interests of Tennessee and Texas to firmly plant his stake in America’s Deep South. It is a wise move. In Blood of Heaven, Wascom paints a fuller portrait of the American South. Though he makes strong overtures to these Southern writers and their territory, Wascom makes it his own.” Washington Independent Review of Books

Kent Wascom has written a rollicking historical thriller, a juicy love story, religious symbolism, a tale of woe, adventure, lust, manhood, money-chasing, nationhood, and religious and racial bigotry in early 1800s America. . . . Early American history was raw and gritty, and Wascom deals in that hard-boiled reality, but it’s balanced by a polished and eloquent prose style that has a certain Old Testament quality to it, which gives the tale its unique flavor and gravity. . . . Wascom engages America’s original sin with real force and seriousness; indeed, there are brutal passages that detail this incredible evil as the real-life horror show it was, and truly show America’s complicity in a moral abhorrence.” Tallahassee Writers Association

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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Main. Language: English . Brand New Book. New Orleans, May 1862. The largest city in the ill-starred confederacy has fallen to Union troops. Twelve-year-old Joseph Woolsack disappears from his home, putting his mother Elise into a panic and his father Angel into a rage. Elise must struggle to maintain a hold on her sanity, her son and her station, but is threatened by the resurgence of a troubling figure from her past. Their paths all intersect with General Benjamin the Beast Butler, whose avarice and brutal acumen are ideally suited to the task of governing an ungovernable city .With the richly historical prose that marked The Blood of Heaven, Wascom carves a gothic tale of insurrection and ill-advised romance in the city at the heart of Secessia, the rebellious just-conquered South. Bookseller Inventory # AA99780802124968

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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Main. Language: English . Brand New Book. New Orleans, May 1862. The largest city in the ill-starred confederacy has fallen to Union troops. Twelve-year-old Joseph Woolsack disappears from his home, putting his mother Elise into a panic and his father Angel into a rage. Elise must struggle to maintain a hold on her sanity, her son and her station, but is threatened by the resurgence of a troubling figure from her past. Their paths all intersect with General Benjamin the Beast Butler, whose avarice and brutal acumen are ideally suited to the task of governing an ungovernable city .With the richly historical prose that marked The Blood of Heaven, Wascom carves a gothic tale of insurrection and ill-advised romance in the city at the heart of Secessia, the rebellious just-conquered South. Bookseller Inventory # AA99780802124968

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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Main. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. New Orleans, May 1862. The largest city in the ill-starred confederacy has fallen to Union troops. Twelve-year-old Joseph Woolsack disappears from his home, putting his mother Elise into a panic and his father Angel into a rage. Elise must struggle to maintain a hold on her sanity, her son and her station, but is threatened by the resurgence of a troubling figure from her past. Their paths all intersect with General Benjamin the Beast Butler, whose avarice and brutal acumen are ideally suited to the task of governing an ungovernable city .With the richly historical prose that marked The Blood of Heaven, Wascom carves a gothic tale of insurrection and ill-advised romance in the city at the heart of Secessia, the rebellious just-conquered South. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780802124968

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Book Description Grove Press, 2016. Book Condition: New. A gothic portrait of a city ravaged by war and struck by vice and disease from the highly-lauded author of The Blood of Heaven. Num Pages: 352 pages. BIC Classification: FV. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 141 x 210 x 25. Weight in Grams: 370. . 2016. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780802124968

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Book Description Grove Press. Book Condition: New. A gothic portrait of a city ravaged by war and struck by vice and disease from the highly-lauded author of The Blood of Heaven. Num Pages: 352 pages. BIC Classification: FV. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 141 x 210 x 25. Weight in Grams: 370. . 2016. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780802124968

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