My American Unhappiness, the second novel from Dean Bakapoulos, the author of Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, is about an unhappy (surprise!) man working in the humanities in Wisconsin who makes a series of terrible decisions for the ostensible purpose of getting married and keeping his family together.
While the main action of the novel takes place in Madison, WI, the protagonist, Zeke Pappas, has a number of connections to Michigan. His time at the University of Michigan features many references to university and Ann Arbor town life including [mild spoiler alert!] Alice Lloyd Hall, the Fleetwood Diner, and beloved professor Ralph Williams’s popular Shakespeare class.
The scenes are most likely drawn from the author’s experience. Raised in metro Detroit, Bakapoulos received his B.A. in Creative Writing from U-M, where he has also lectured.
A preface to the novel—written by the author but which was cut from the final version of the book—is available at Fiction Writers Review, and gives background on the institution(s) featured in the novel and some of the characters.
Dean Bakapoulos will read at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor tomorrow night.
-Brian Short, Michigan Radio Newsroom