The Complicated Calculus (and Cows) of Carl Paulsen (Paperback)
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Set on a small and struggling family dairy operation in southern Minnesota, The Complicated Calculus (and Cows) of Carl Paulsen follows fifteen-year-old Carl as he confronts his crush on Andy Olnan, a handsome and confident but secretive “city boy” recently transplanted to farm life from Minneapolis who may or may not share the same feelings. At the same time, Carl and his father clash over the future of their farm, a legacy of Carl’s late mother: how do they honor her dream for the family while also ensuring financial security? Carl discovers his own resilience in the face of grief, adult-sized decisions, and unrequited love, and along the way learns to cope with both the challenges and rewards of being different.
About the Author
Gary Eldon Peter is the author of Oranges, winner of the Gold Medal for LGBT+ fiction in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, the Midwest Book Award, and a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals and has been performed on the public radio program Selected Shorts. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota.
"Carl Paulsen wants to belong to this world, broken though it may be. There is a magic in this book, magic that makes us feel we are in this young man's heart as he struggles to find his place in the world. The words shimmer with gentle, heartbreaking empathy. The result is a beautiful piece of fiction, sure to make anyone who reads it feel less alone." —N. West Moss, author of Flesh and Blood and The Subway Stops at Bryant Park
"Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, get ready to fall in love with Carl Paulsen. Gary Eldon Peter’s hero is smart, charming, modest (but opinionated where it counts) and, speaking of falling in love, he’s gay. A new boy at school catches Carl’s eye and seems to return his interest. Or does he? Carl’s roller-coaster of a semester is warmly familiar and yet full of surprising twists and turns. This book will have huge appeal across age groups and backgrounds." —David Pratt, author of Wallaçonia
"Fearlessly exploring the nuances of love and friendship, Peter’s characters navigate life’s inevitable disappointments with humor and hope. Teenagers will love this story of vulnerability and courage as Carl finds the strength to act on his own feelings, and subsequently realizes his family and friends’ love for him is profoundly rooted in acceptance." —Carol Dines, author of This Distance We Call Love and The Queen's Soprano
"With insight and grace, Gary Eldon Peter explores the big questions: Who am I? Who will I be? And who will I let truly know me? This novel's gentleness is underlain with the absolute determination of a quiet teenager's quest for self-identity." —Alison McGhee, author of Where We Are and What I Leave Behind
"Meet Carl Paulsen – he’s not rich, urban, or 'fabulous.' He’s a farm boy devoted to his cows, his younger sister, and his widowed father (in that order). When Carl meets Andy Olnan, the new boy in town, everything suddenly changes, just like that moment in West Side Story when Maria meets Tony. I absolutely loved this fresh, unpredictable, and heartrending-but-hopeful book. Funny, sad, closeted farm kid Carl Paulsen is my new best friend." —Brian Malloy, author of The Year of Ice and After Francesco
"Once I picked up The Complicated Calculus (and Cows) of Carl Paulsen, I had a hard time putting it down. I fell hard for Carl and his very active but pragmatic imagination, his sense of irony and humor, his clear-eyed view of the world. And he does love his cows!" —Judith Katz, author of The Escape Artist and Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound
"This is a tender, rural spin on gay first love."--Publishers Weekly