Join us at Northshire when Vermont writer Gary Meffe presents his new novel, The Wizard of Odd.
Welcome to Oddertown, Vermont, population 700, more or less. Tucked into the remote Northeast Kingdom, and filled with a collection of quirky characters, “Odd” epitomizes the traditional and independent ways of a small New England village. Experience the rich tapestry of life and characters that constitute this microcosm of what makes Vermont—and any genuine small town—a special and memorable place. With a diverse population ranging from hard right conservatives to far left earth muffins, but all guided by mutual tolerance, respect, and love of community, the town unites around the solid and historic structure that defines life here: the Odderton Country store, now in its 137th year. But Kate Langford, the new, 6th-generation owner, is facing a serious and impending problem that threatens to shut down the store—and village life as they know it—in less than a year. With support from retired and widowed professor Jim Watson and a devoted citizenry, Kate struggles to save the epicenter and lifeblood of Oddertown, despite major obstacles thrown in her path. Through comedy, tragedy, resilience, despair, surprises, and love of place, and inspired by real challenges that face real Vermont towns, The Wizard of Odd captures the essence of what comprises a good and authentic community truly worth fighting for.
“Gary Meffe makes me want to move to Vermont! In his new novel The Wizard of Odd, he makes a compelling case for small-town life, with all its difficulties and joys. Contributing to that sense of place are Oddertown’s characters, who range from saintly to bumptious, and a strong plot, but the real attraction, for this lover of landscape, is the sense that life in Oddertown depends so beautifully on the riches of its environment.” —Jim Krosschell, author of One Man’s Maine: Essays on a Love Affair
“The Wizard of Odd takes us deep into the heart of a small Vermont town, exposing as it does the cultural and cohesive elements that bind a random and diverse collection of wonderful characters into a community. Each time we think we know one character, Meffe introduces another, until we see the full panoply of his wonderful cast of Vermonters and neo-Vermonters come together to forge their town’s salvation.” —Bill Schubart, author of Lila &Theron and The Lamoille Stories
“The Wizard of Odd is a charming look at the ecology of small town Vermont and offers an inspiring vision for the possibilities of community solidarity and resiliency.” —Robin MacArthur, author of Half Wild and Heart Spring Mountain
“Pull on your comfies, climb into your favorite chair, and enter Oddertown, a place you might recognize or wish you could know, inhabited by a host of characters, both charming and challenged, who together find a way to hold on to what truly matters in life—not fortune or fame but authentic congregation and fellowship. What makes this book so engaging is the author’s deep appreciation of rural life, an understanding he came to by immersing himself in small-town Vermont and finding there the kind of human interaction we all need in a time of growing anonymity and disengagement.” —Yvonne Daley, author of six books, including A Mighty Storm, Octavia Boulevard and Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont
Born and raised in the wild suburbs of Rahway, New Jersey, Gary K. Meffe escaped at the age of 24 to pursue a Ph.D. at Arizona State University. He was a Research Professor in ecology and conservation biology at the Universities of Georgia and Florida, during which he co-authored two textbooks and was editor-in-chief of an international scientific journal. In retirement, Gary turned to non-scientific writings and in 2014 published a collection of essays called Van Cortland Chronicles. A Celebration of Life in a Small Vermont Town. When not writing he enjoys fly fishing, woodworking, and outdoor activities that connect him to the natural world. He and his wife of 36 years live in Brandon, Vermont. This is his first novel.