Secessia

Kent Wascom. Grove, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2361-9
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. Mayhem ensues, since the Big Easy is in no mood to comply with the blue-belly Gen. Butler, sent by the North to take control. The streets are rife with dissent as Butler tries to restore order, imprisoning city fathers and hanging agitators. Not long after the city falls, Angel Woolsack, an abusive, murderous rogue from Wascom's first novel, The Blood of Heaven, is found with his brains blown out. Other than his son, 12-year-old Joseph, no one cares much whether it was suicide, and the body is tidied up by household slaves before anyone is the wiser. Joseph and his mother, Elise, a descendant of slaves, must navigate a world turned inside out but still unsympathetic to the rights of women and people of African descent. Joseph becomes enamored with a Cuban refugee girl rescued from a shipwreck by Union soldiers, who lives with the madams next door, while Elise is caught in the snares of the sinister Dr. Sabatier, a mysterious figure from her past. 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. His fecund language is as overripe as the setting, but this is such a good yarn that readers will be totally on board with the whole rambunctious package. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/08/2015
Release date: 07/07/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-8021-9133-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-2752-7
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-8021-2496-8
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