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Column

Rejection letters

Don Peteroy's epistolary novel, "Wally," draws a straight line between pathos and pathetic

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The tradition of the literary dickhead is long and venerable. Eponymous protagonists from Thackeray's Barry Lyndon and Cervantes' Don Quixote to Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim and David Gates' Jernigan have made their feckless way into readers' hearts; but Don Peteroy's Wally is a picaresque of a slightly more miserable tone. The laughs are not quite so lighthearted, and our antihero is preoccupied with his medications, but his one-against-the-world attitude is the same.

Underemployed playwright Wally Tiperoy is on a mission: He's got a bone to pick with Santa, and he's driving to the northernmost point of this continent to have it out with the man. The novel takes the form of letters written to his physicist wife – letters which make it increasingly clear that Santa is not the real problem – and as Wally drives, he (and his car) begin to fall apart, peeling back layer after repugnant layer of trauma inflicted and received.

This is the first single-author work from Burrow Press, the local publisher that came into its own last year with their 15 Views of Orlando anthology. Burrow Press editor Ryan Rivas promises that next year will bring a couple more 15 Views iterations and at least one more novel (though he won't name an author yet). Of Wally, Rivas says simply, "The book is fucking awesome and I'm extremely lucky to have found it, not to mention Don himself, who is an insanely hard-working writer and well on his way to national attention."

Speaking of national attention, Rivas is making a splash himself this year: His short story "South Beach," originally published in Winter Park-based Annalemma magazine, was selected for inclusion in the Dave Eggers-edited Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012.

Wally

By Don Peteroy
(Burrow Press, 214 pages)

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