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Gideon's Confession

Joseph G. Peterson

Publication Year: 2014

In his fourth novel Peterson tells the story of Gideon Anderson, a young man alienated from his father and two brothers who have gone into the family business. Unlike them, he receives checks from his rich uncle every month. In exchange for the checks, the uncle asks Gideon to come up with a plan for his life, essentially a blueprint about how he intends to enter the job market. Gideon, who went to a prestigious university, puts his uncle off and spends the money on alcohol, the horses, and a miscellany of useless purchases partly because he doesn’t know what to do, partly because he doesn’t want to do anything.

Gideon then meets a lovely, ambitious woman, Claire, who encourages him to do better with his life and talent. She asks him to come to New York with her where her father can set him up in his firm or bankroll a business venture. Despite his good fortune in love and access to the steady cash-flow provided by his uncle, Gideon, like Melville’s character Bartleby the Scrivener “prefers not to” commit either to a career or to Claire. For ten years he just drifts. And then suddenly his uncle dies and Gideon has to make a decision. 

The novels of Joseph G. Peterson have run a literary gauntlet from searing prose to lyrical poetry; from noir style to full character-driven plots, and his work has drawn comparisons to Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. An incredible eye for detail and taut, lean prose are what readers have come to expect from a Peterson effort, and in this new book they will not be disappointed. Peterson delivers an emotionally engaging parable that will appeal not only to twenty-somethings unwilling or unable to commit and fit in, but also to adult readers who appreciate modern literary fiction and carefully crafted characters.

Published by: Northern Illinois University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 1-41

Before my uncle died his checks arrived in the mail the first Wednesday of every month. I don’t know why they arrived, but they arrived nonetheless, like a benediction.
The first check came in the mail when I was nineteen years old, and I had no idea then that more checks would come, but come they did with unfailing regularity until the final check, which arrived six months after he had passed away...

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pp. 42-53

4:00 a.m.
I wake myself to write. I should be sleeping like the rest of the world, but I’m wide awake on my couch, drinking a can of Bud and watching the everlasting tube. If I were a dog, I’d be a mongrel mutt. I feel homeless, shiftless. It’s 4:00 a.m...

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pp. 54-94

A few details. Where to begin? First of all—how we met. We met at a coffee shop, but let me tell you what happened a little before that. It was an utterly perfect day. I was still a student at the university. I remember it well. In fact, I was sitting in the quad reading J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories.

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pp. 95-110

My father was fond of telling me that I didn’t have what it takes to get by in this world. Who knows? Perhaps he’s right. You’ll never amount to anything, he would say in disappointment. I was his third son, and as far back as I can remember, he thought I was a failure. He blamed it on my mother...

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pp. 111-116

Besides these friends, my childhood was largely uneventful, save for the antagonism that daily grew between me and my brothers and father. The three of them formed an unbreakable triad cemented together by something akin to electromagnetic force...

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pp. 117-124

My uncle’s checks came and went as did the days. One day flying into another and so many of those days spent drinking at the bar. And waiting. The door to the bar would fly open, and I’d turn my head to see who it was, who was coming in...

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pp. 125-128

The change came a few weeks later when two notes arrived in the mail on the same day—the last Wednesday of the month. The first was in Claire’s handwriting, and the other was in a hand I did not know. I opened Claire’s first...

E-ISBN-13: 9781609091613
E-ISBN-10: 1609091612
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875807027
Print-ISBN-10: 087580702X

Page Count: 130
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 880354746
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Gideon's Confession

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Subject Headings

  • Losers -- Fiction.
  • Single men -- Fiction.
  • Uncles -- Fiction.
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