Kent Wascom was born in New Orleans in 1986 and spent his childhood in Louisiana and Pensacola, Fla. He attended LSU and received his MFA from Florida State University. In 2012, he won the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for fiction, judged by Amy Hempel. Wascom lives in Tallahassee. The Blood of Heaven is his first novel.
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Blood of Heaven: A Novel
“Making brilliant use of a little-known chapter in America’s history, Wascom’s gripping debut captures the pioneer spirit, lawlessness and religious fervor of the Southern frontier. … In its depiction of a primitive, savage era and of man’s depravity as well as its sensitive portrayal of souls ‘drowned in the blood of Heaven,’ Wascom’s novel is a masterly achievement.” -Publishers Weekly
“Wascom’s language, gorgeous, expressive and raw, flawlessly matches his vision of the unruly southern frontier before it latched onto the U.S. … Seeing early 19th-century America through the eyes of an ambitious, trigger-happy renegade makes for an exhilarating yet brutal ride. Wascom imbues this underexplored era with visceral authenticity.” - Booklist
One of the most powerful and impressive debuts Grove/Atlantic has ever published, The Blood of Heaven by 26-year-old Kent Wascom shows the kind of talent rarely seen in any novelist, no matter their age. The book tells the story of Angel Woolsack, a preacher’s son who flees the hardscrabble life of his itinerant father, falls in with a charismatic highwayman and settles with his adopted brothers on the rough frontier of West Florida, where American settlers are carving their place out of lands held by the Spaniards and the French. The novel moves from the bordellos of Natchez, where Angel meets his love Red Kate; to the Mississippi River plantations, where the brutal system of slave labor is creating fantastic wealth along with terrible suffering and finally to the back rooms of New Orleans among schemers, dreamers and would-be revolutionaries plotting to break away from the young United States and create a new country under the leadership of the renegade founding father Aaron Burr.
The Blood of Heaven is a remarkable portrait of a young man seizing his place in a violent new world; a moving love story and a vivid tale of ambition and political machinations that brilliantly captures the energy and wildness of a young America where anything is possible.
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