Blue Awesome AscendingA Novel
Cloth Edition, $29.95Trade
Cloth ISBN: 1-57233-629-3
Status: In Print
Description“Blue Awesome Ascending is original and moving, and it alternates between moments of hilarity and seriousness. While deeply wise, the book is never pretentious or didactic: the somber moments are always couched between absurdities that somehow come across as completely believable-a lot of fun to read.” -Mark Powell, author of Prodigals and Blood Kin
“Blue Awesome Ascending is surrealism at its best. . . . The prose quality is exquisite. The line-by-line writing is poetic and musical-each page is a new adventure. In fact, each sentence presents a new turn of phrase, a stop-you-in-your-tracks insight, or a darkly comic witticism.” -Jeanne Leiby, editor of Southern Review and author of Downriver: Short Stories
“Darkly comic, magical, and moving, this is the kind of novel that Flannery O'Conner and Gabriel Garcia-Marquez might have collaborated on-but it is all Hubert Whitlow, a major new voice in Southern fiction.” -Allen Wier, author of Tehano
Pearl Harbor has just been bombed, and thirteen-year old Blue Awesome Easterly yearns to grow up fast, join the Army Air Corps, and become a hero. But one-eyed Aunt Spook warns him: “Beware the light!” She knows, because “the swamp people told me while I was in a trance,” that Blue Awesome is fated to see events from the past-revealed in flashes of light only he can see. “This light never dies,” cautions Aunt Spook. “And it never forgets what it sees.”
Blue Awesome's parents operate their funeral parlor/telephone business out of their home, Welcome Hall, in deep south Home Free, a small village not far from Swamp Ha-Ha, an area as “rural as raw peanuts.” Blue Awesome's mother, Ethyl, more or less runs the businesses by herself because his father, Poordaddy, teaches in his private, tuition-free Classic Academy for Young Men. The Easterlys are getting by fine until the commander of the new Army base asks them to secretly embalm a murdered African American officer. When word gets out, local vigilantes turn their world upside down. But that's just the half of it.
Take a pinch of Gabriel García Márquez, a dollop of Riddley Walker, a touch of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a smidgen of William Kotzwinkle-blend thoroughly, bake at high heat (swamp temperature would be best) and you have this entirely new confection, Blue Awesome Ascending. Prepare for a feast.
Hubert H. Whitlow Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Library Science and Political Science at Georgia Highlands College. He has published stories in Southern Humanities Review and The Louisville Review, and Beloit Fiction Journal.
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