All the Happiness You Deserve

Overview


“[A] wonderful read . . . delivered with a holism evocative of a John Irving novel.
Beautifully written and deeply rewarding.” —Booklist

“Brilliant . . . Michael Piafsky is a word wizard . . . with prose so dramatic and suspenseful that the book becomes impossible to put down.” —ForeWord Reviews

“Beautifully rendered. . . .Piafsky writes with precision, finding meaning, and even beauty, in both the mundane ...

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All the Happiness You Deserve

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Overview


“[A] wonderful read . . . delivered with a holism evocative of a John Irving novel.
Beautifully written and deeply rewarding.” —Booklist

“Brilliant . . . Michael Piafsky is a word wizard . . . with prose so dramatic and suspenseful that the book becomes impossible to put down.” —ForeWord Reviews

“Beautifully rendered. . . .Piafsky writes with precision, finding meaning, and even beauty, in both the mundane and dramatic elements of an ordinary life.” —Shelf Unbound

This dazzling debut novel follows its midwestern narrator from childhood to old age as he examines the touchpoints and transitions that define a life. Scotty’s languorous journey takes him through the pivotal experiences common to so many American men: a middle-class childhood, college, marriage, fatherhood, cross-country moves, business success and failure, and aging. Piafsky frames his story with Tarot images that speak to the disconnectedness of society and the perplexing isolation of the human condition.

Michael Piafsky is the director of creative writing at Spring Hill College in Alabama and a former editor of the Missouri Review. All the Happiness You Deserve is his first novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/23/2013
Piafsky’s debut novel uses tarot as a unifying device to bring together 78 short chapters, one for each card in the deck. The chapters, which generally correspond thematically to their given cards, read more like vignettes or very short stories than traditional chapters (one, in fact, was previously published as a standalone story). Beginning with the unnamed protagonist’s middle-American childhood, the novel progresses more or less chronologically through life events both major and minor, including his older sister’s sudden death, his parents’ subsequent breakup, love affairs, marriage, fatherhood, and middle age. At times, readers may grow wistful for the thoughtful, philosophical boy who, in his fifth-grade teacher’s words “goes somewhere very far away, somewhere deep inside his mind.” By midlife, that boy’s been replaced by an often-obnoxious financial professional more interested in the trappings of success than in the life of the mind. Only near the novel’s end does some of his introspection return–this time after events that seem to echo those experienced by his father decades earlier. There are some transcendent moments here, particularly in the early chapters, but Piafsky’s narrator is too frequently crass and thoughtless to convince as the everyman he seems intended to be. Agent: Chris Kepner, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“Brilliant . . . Michael Piafsky is a word wizard . . . with prose so dramatic and suspenseful that the book becomes impossible to put down.” —ForeWord Reviews

“Beautifully rendered. . . .Piafsky writes with precision, finding meaning, and even beauty, in both the mundane and dramatic elements of an ordinary life.” —Shelf Unbound

“[A] wonderful read . . . delivered with a holism evocative of a John Irving novel.
Beautifully written and deeply rewarding.” —Booklist

“A long lovely poem of a book, a kind of literary kaleidoscope that reveals beautiful, intricate patterns with each turn of the page.” —LIAM CALLANAN, author of The Cloud Atlas and All Saints

All the Happiness You Deserve is a terrific novel, one that succeeds in the rarest of ways: through a combination of experimentation and accessibility. It tells the story of a man’s entire life, and in so doing reveals a great deal about the way we tell stories, to others and—most dangerously—to ourselves.” —CHRISTOPHER COAKE, author of You Came Back and We’re In Trouble

“Through beautifully-written episodes, Michael Piafsky’s novel All the Happiness You Deserve takes us right into the unavoidable melancholy of life.“ —SAHAR DELIJANI, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree

“Smart, playful, energetic . . . very funny when it’s the appropriate time to be funny, and touching when the situation calls for it too.” —STEPHEN DIXON, Two-time National Book Award Finalist for Frog and Interstate

“A distinctive, insightful portrait of the everyday rhythms of life and the fragile, complicated threads that connect us, All the Happiness You Deserve is a wildly original, mesmerizing debut.” —AMY HATVANY, author of Heart Like Mine

“In Michael Piafsky’s superb everyman novel All the Happiness You Deserve, all the big questions—fate, fortune, free-will, happiness, pain—spin round and round like a carnival Ferris wheel ride you hope will never end.” —MICHAEL KARDOS, author of The Three-Day Affair and One Last Good Time

“What I love about All the Happiness You Deserve is its gentle irony and humor. This book captures both a family’s caring and the way it can descend into absolute chaos. Michael Piafsky is one of America’s most promising young writers.” —SPEER MORGAN, author of The Freshour Cylinders

“Michael Piafsky finds the remarkable in seemingly unremarkable things. He is a poet of everyday details, and All The Happiness You Deserve is a beautiful, confident novel, full of unique and unexpected energy.” —SCOTT O’CONNOR, author of Half World and Untouchable

“Michael Piafsky takes a deep and unflinching look into the soul of the average American male. In All the Happiness You Deserve, the narrative arc of an ‘ordinary’ life is writ both large and small in the finely-wrought and telling details laid by the hands of a master-craftsman. Precise, amusing, and tragic—this is a remarkable debut.” —BRIAN PAYTON, author of The Wind Is Not a River

“With a pointillist painter’s skill and vision, Michael Piafsky uses brief scenes to create a full canvas. All the Happiness You Deserve succeeds brilliantly on both a microscopic and telescopic level with the sum of its parts being greater than the whole—and yet somehow each part stands on its own as a perfect jewel, a flash of light. Using the ancient symbolic wisdom of the Tarot deck as a brilliant and haunting structure for this accomplished debut novel, Piafsky depicts the arc of a man’s life from childhood to middle age, presenting his central character’s destiny with both clarity and compassion.” —MARLY SWICK, author of The Summer Before the Summer of Love and Evening News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938849152
  • Publisher: Prospect Park Books
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 789,448
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Piafsky is an associate professor and the director of creative writing at Spring Hill College in Alabama. The Montreal native earned an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of Missouri. A former editor of the Missouri Review, Piafsky has published fiction and nonfiction in journals such as Meridian, Epic, and Bar Stories, among others, and an excerpt from All the Happiness You Deserve, his first novel, was published by the Jabberwock Review and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
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