New Release: Cecilia Pinto, Imagine the Dog

Imagine the Dog: A Novella
Cecilia Pinto

Available here

2020 Winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize

Ricky Rudolph experiences a revelation that causes him to believe that he has been called by God to imitate Jesus, literally. He embarks on a personal journey of religious study and learns a few magic tricks that lead to his self-employment performing wedding ceremonies while portraying Jesus. At one such wedding he is approached by a young man named France who requests that Ricky officiate at his mother’s funeral. However, haunted by the deaths of his father and his mentally ill sister, Ricky declines. He’d rather focus on happy occasions and trying to get the beautiful but reserved Beatta, who owns the liquor store he frequents, to give him the time of day. Ricky’s youngest daughter Linda shows up pregnant and in need of his help. France won’t go away either and now almost homeless, leans on Ricky for support and a place to stay. Ricky’s once quiet life suddenly includes two young people in need of care he’s not sure he can give. And all of righteous hipness he’s so carefully cultivated.

“I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that Ricky Rudolph, the protagonist of Cecilia Pinto’s novella, Imagine the Dog, is a Jesus Impersonator. He’s a bit of a mess, but he’s a principled mess. Like Jesus, he surrounds himself with sinners and outcasts, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them all. It’s only fitting that I use Ricky’s own advice to himself as you live with Pinto’s very real characters: ‘Be awake for this.’”

—Billy Lombardo, author of Morning Will Come

Cecilia Pinto is a writer whose fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. A graduate of Knox College, she received her MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute. She makes her home in Chicago with her husband and sons where she teaches creative writing at The Chicago High School for the Arts.

Available here

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