King of Angels, A Novel About the Genesis of Identity and Belief
A mysterious, spell-binding coming-of-age novel set in a Catholic military school in Savannah, GA, in 1963, the year of JFK's murder. Brave, curious 12-year-old Benjamin Rothberg, child of a mixed marriage, discovers a love he can barely name and a secret community of gay men coming out of the darkest shadows, in a period of stark racial change in the haunting beauty of the coastal South." More
By the acclaimed author of How to Survive Your Own Gay Life, Carnal Sacraments, The Substance of God, Warlock, and bestselling Ippy-Award Gold Medalist The Manly Art of Seduction.
“Perry Brass is a literary polymath who enthralls readers no matter the genre.” Richard Labonte, syndicated book columnist, Book Marks.
Winner: 2012, “Ippy” Independent Publisher Book Award, Bronze Medal Young Adult Fiction
Finalist: Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian and Gay Fiction, 2013
“I laughed and I cried but most of all I thought and I remembered how it was growing up in one of the most turbulent periods of American history when communities tried to come together. Accepting ourselves is part of it all and Perry Brass helps us with that in his brilliant new book. Now back to read it all over again.” Reviews by Amos Lassen, March 26, 2012 (reviewsbyamoslassen.com)
“King of Angels might be compared to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, substituting the turbulent 1960s with Lee’s depression-era setting and replacing Catholic-Jewish antagonism and homophobia for the race relations that drive To Kill a Mockingbird . . . By making the narrator of King of Angels a slightly older gay boy, Brass introduces a twist to the Southern coming of age story.” Lambda Literary Foundation Newsletter, June 14, 2012.
“Brass' rich descriptions verge on poetic, they remain specific to emotions and action . . . [this] allegory, albeit written in an almost flat syntax, deftly portrays the voice of an awkward teenage narrator. A pivotal tragedy in King of Angels serves as symbolic, surprising and inevitable.” Bay Area Reporter, June 14, 2012.
Inside every man is a boy who is waiting to see where manhood will take him: The early ‘60s “Mad Men” era were turbulent: things were shooting out of the closet at lightning velocity. Men were sexual animals, but women were supposed to stay moms and wives. Playboy hit the newsstands. Sexually-rumored John F. Kennedy was president. The Beatles arrived in the U.S.. There was a dark side: the Ku Klux Klan, racial violence, razor-edged homophobia lurking behind the Playboy lifestyle. You were either a player or a Los Vegas comedian’s fag joke—and 12-year-old Benjamin Rothberg, growing up in Isle of Hope, Georgia, in the marshes outside Savannah, realizes this fast. Child of a mixed marriage between a beautiful blonde Southern-WASP mother and a passionate New York-Jewish father, Benjy will soon be plunged into the sexual underground of boys at Holy Nativity Military Academy, a Catholic school in Savannah run by an order of monks with secrets of their own: alcoholism, pedophilia, and whispered doubts about their faith and calling. The monks are compassionate, racially progressive, and dedicated to educating boys; they are also ruthless when they need to be—and determined to keeping the school going, even after the death of a young handsome Puerto Rican student has been linked to a “closer than normal” relationship with an upperclassman football player.
Benjamin Rothberg finds himself in the middle of all this as he tries to sort out his own identity and discovers a connection with an older “out” Jewish teen trying to survive in Savannah’s queer sexual underground, as a genuine gay community comes out of the darkest shadows.