It seems cliché to say that a book has “everything,” but there is a lot going on in Ann Garvin’s latest novel “I Thought You Said This Would Work,” which takes place partly in the author’s home town of Madison and on a cross-country road trip.
As one friend, Katie, is hospitalized with relapsing cancer, her two other best friends (though themselves not currently friendly) agree to travel to California and drive back Katie’s long-lost dog who is currently housed at a shelter. Garvin, who is a former UW-Madison professor, has written five novels, and “I Thought You Said This Would Work” was released in trade paperback on May 1.
Q: There are multiple themes in “I Thought You Said This Would Work”: friendship, adventure, loss and loneliness. What inspired you to write it?
A: I think there is probably a simple and very complicated answer.
I see the world as funny and sad. I thought I was writing this kind of funny send-up when you stick two friends — who loved each other once but now don’t even like each other anymore — in a car with a really drooly dog. But, once I got into writing this book, I saw that this was a deep exploration of how friends are made and what glue keeps them together.
I love a good weirdo and because of that, relationships can get complex. I love to write about these complexities. It’s what makes life interesting.