Synopses & Reviews
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 doesnt know what to do, partly because he doesnt 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 Melvilles 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.
“The world that Gideon inhabits in Joe Petersons Gideons Confession
is never less than recognizably real. That attractive realism might at first seem to make a fantastical book like Steppenwolf
an odd comparison, but like Hesse, Peterson traces the journey through that potentially lethal combination of the self-doubt and towering self-absorption of youth, and as in Steppenwolf
the escape is into love. Frankly, of the two, it is Petersons ending I prefer.”
—Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago
"Peterson knows his characters inside and out and because of that the reader becomes equally intimate with them. Gideon's Confession
brings shades of Salinger, Nick Hornby, and Michael Chabon together in one powerful read."
—Ryan W. Bradley, author of Code for Failure
“Joe Petersons Gideon is a rollicking antihero who moves through these pages as he does through his rich uncles checks: quickly and lyrically. Gideon shops, drinks, and gobbles the money away, observing the world from its periphery until the checks stop arriving, the engine of his romance revs dangerously, and he is forced to make an active choice about how to live and love. Peterson's stylish, clean prose is a pleasure, and watching Gideon come of age, albeit a bit late? Absolutely delightful.”
—Rachel DeWoskin, author of Foreign Babes in Beijing, Repeat After Me, and Big Girl Small
is about a dead-end narrowly averted by the kindness and foresight of others. About what those who care about us see that we dont see in ourselves. About a way out when we think there isnt one. About deserving love when we dont believe ourselves deserving.”
Dmitry Samarov, author of Hack
"One of my new favorite authors [is] Joseph G. Peterson. I am haunted by his book Gideons Confession. Im haunted by the amount of action and inaction in this book. Gideon reminds me in so many ways not just of myself at a younger age but a lot of people I once knew who were kind of paralyzed."
—Rick Kogan, WGN Radio
"Like any good Catholic, [Gideon] finds redemption in the act of confession. . . . There is, throughout the book, a very religious undertone. Catholic symbolism, which pops up on most pages, points readers toward the possibility of redemption for the main character. The lower and lower he gets, the more overtly religious the tone of the book becomes." —Bookslut
About the Author
Joseph G. Peterson grew up in Wheeling, Illinois. He worked in an aluminum mill and the masonry trade to pay for his education at the University of Chicago. He is the author of three novels: Beautiful Piece, Inside the Whale, and Wanted: Elevator Man. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.