The Committee on Town Happiness by Alan Michael Parker
"Smart and funny and oddly touching and ravishingly beautiful, The Committee on Town Happiness is typical of Alan Michael Parker in effect but sui generis in form. Some will think of this as a collection of cutting-edge stories. Some will see it as a kind of pointillist novel. Whatever. It’s a work of narrative genius."
—Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"Alan Michael Parker’s inventive and deeply felt novel touches on both the absurdity and sublimity of small town life. These ninety-nine linked stories skip from funny to sad and back again with brilliant economy and deadpan wit."
—Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
"These ninety-nine stories are 99 percent heartbreaking. The Committee on Town Happiness is also hilarious, beautiful, bold. I love Alan Michael Parker's mythic kindness and vision."
—Kate Bernheimer, author of Horse, Flower, Bird
The Committee on Town Happiness consists of ninety-nine linked stories about disappearing townsfolk. Air balloons are launched to search for the missing, galas proliferate, laws are imposed ad absurdum, and a guerilla group forms as the Committee shapes the future of small-town America in this biting examination of modern bureaucracy.
Alan Michael Parker will lead the workshop, "Where Am I in History? The Poet’s Dilemma" at the NCWN 2014 Fall Conference. He is the author of eight collections of poems, including his most recent, Long Division, which won the 2012 North Carolina Book Award. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, the 2013 and 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition Awards, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His 2011 novel, Whale Man, was shortlisted for the 2011 ForeWord Reviews' "Book of the Year Award" in the category of Literary Fiction. He is also the author of the novel Cry Uncle. Since 1998, he has taught at Davidson College, where he was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 2007; in 2012, he was named Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English. He also teaches in the University of Tampa Low-Residency M.F.A. program, where he works with graduate student writers in both poetry and fiction. He lives in Davidson with his wife, the artist Felicia van Bork, and her Pecha Kucha alter ego, Candi Parker.