Citizen Review: I Thought You Were Dead

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with Ben Paulson’s summary of the latest comic novel from Pete Nelson. You can meet Pete Wednesday, April 21, at 7:30pm, when he reads at Magers & Quinn.

I Thought You Were Dead
It’s generally accepted fact that people who love dogs and people who love books rarely have anything to discuss with each other. I am happy to announce that those days of conflict are safely behind us. I Thought You Were Dead, the new novel by Pete Nelson, is the story of a man in a rut. Recently divorced, Paul Gustavson oscillates between his floundering freelance writing career and his local drinking establishment, meandering peaceably through his days side by side with his faithful dog, Stella. When his father is hospitalized, Paul must return home, embarking on a personal odyssey of reconciliation. Forced to confront his own disappointments, Paul ultimately finds renewal through an introspective reevaluation of his life, reconsidering the changes of middle age, the value of family and the meaning of companionship, canine or otherwise. Through this narrative of mordant humor and patient storytelling, Nelson explores the inertia of lowered expectations and the constant possibility of change. Perfect for the dog-lover in your life, I Thought You Were Dead is the tale of a man at odds with the world and the dog that talks him through it. Oh, yeah, the dog talks. You’ll get used to it. In fact, like Paul, you’ll start to find it kind of comforting.
Ben Paulson lives in St. Paul, where he obsesses about books, zombies and breakfasts.