Stan Pavlov, method actor, once stabbed a distant uncle before an audition for Hamlet – just to get the feel of it; he once ruined a performance of MacBeth yelling “look out, Duncan!”; and for Equus… well… the less said, the better. The only recent acting jobs he has listed on his headshot are “appeared in court” and “hot dog” (handing out fliers for a fast-food restaurant).
Then life takes an unexpected change – for the worse – when his beloved Dog inadvertently gets cast in the commercial Stan was auditioning for. From there,
Pavlov’s Dog ascends to stardom: lead roles in The Royal Shakespeare Company, a prime-time animated series, and serious negotiations for a late-night talk show. Stan finds himself alone when his long-time girlfriend takes over as the Dog’s manager and heads to L.A.
Stan quits; instead of being on the stage, he is simply around it, cleaning up after shows. He has flushed the acting bug out of his system, until…
The Dog, sick and surprisingly broke, needs money for an operation (having blown all his on chew toys and bitches). To raise the cash, Stan has to accept a role as the unremarkable game show host of Animal Instinct – a role he has just vehemently refused.
Suddenly, with his own star on the rise, Stan finds that everything he ever wanted - money, fame, attention - is not actually what he really wanted. The one thing success can’t provide is what he desires most: companionship.
Trashing hotel rooms, robbing banks, punching fans who don’t want to take his picture can’t erase the simple truth: there is no loneliness quite as profound as a man separated from his dog. Has fame destroyed any hope of reuniting?
Pavlov’s Dog is the story of one man’s unwavering search for companionship, loyalty, friendship.
Extract from Pavlov's Dog
Sarah held the phone out to him. “Someone named Nigel is on the phone for you?” Stan hurtled over the dog, banged shin-first straight into the corner of a rusty bench, and ripped the phone out of Sarah’s surprised hands. “Hi! Nigel, hey there, hello!” Stan put his hand over the mouthpiece and in his best, raspy stage whisper said to Sarah, “It’s Nigel! You know . . . my agent!” With her left hand, she gave him an enthusiastic thumbs-up while with her right hand, hidden behind her back, she crossed her fingers so firmly that her hand cramped. “Nigel, wow. I haven’t heard from you since . . . well . . .I’ve . . . I’ve never heard from you, actually.” Stan took a moment to let this sink in, his posture crumpling several inches, before Nigel spoke again, making Stan’s ears perk up momentarily. “Yes . . . oh, my God . . . the cola commercial? . . . Really! . . . What do you mean, ‘bring treats’?” The sun rose so slowly that Stan imagined that, just like him, the sun wanted nothing to do with today and just wanted to go back to bed. He had heard of 5:30 AM call times but, having never really been cast in anything before—at least not anything of consequence—he wasn’t sure if they truly existed. But here it was. And it was just as awful as he had imagined. He still couldn’t believe it. It had to be a joke. He kept looking around, waiting and praying that any moment now all his friends and relatives would jump out and yell, “Surprise!” and wish him a happy fortieth birthday. Except he was only thirty-three. And his birthday was five and a half months away. As hopes go, it wasn’t looking promising. Looking around, wondering where they were supposed to be, Stan caught sight of the craft services table and fell madly in love. Every hearty baked good, every sun-kissed fruit— lovingly sliced into convenient, bite-size morsels—every flavor of coffee yet thought of by nature or man, was there for the taking, no questions asked. And Stan was sure that if there was a special condiment he desired on the side, that it could be arranged with a whispered word in an influential ear. With a frolic and a gambol, and a move mildly reminiscent of a caper, he headed for the craft services table, dragging the dog behind him, who had been about to leave a coil-shaped memento, just to prove that he was here. The dog was understandably frustrated at being denied this small opportunity at immortality.
Praise for the book, or maybe the Dog...
I found Pavlov's Dog to be entertaining, with a biting wit and nice sense of satire. David Kurman writes vividly and his words punch up the page. Recommended for anyone looking for a book that is somewhat like Tarantino having a drink with Vonnegut. - JD DeHart, NetGalley
I loved this book!
It's the story of a Dog that found fame and fortune accidentally, only to blow it all on "chew toys and bitches"!
It's also about the unbreakable bond between human and dog.
He becomes down and out and so returns to his owner, Stan Pavlov, as he is in dire need of a lifesaving operation which costs money.
It's a Man has Dog, Man loses Dog to Fame, Dog returns to Man type of story. Wonderful! Highly recommended. - Eileen Hall, Goodreads
Pavlov's Dog is David Kurman's first novel. When he is not trying to get people to buy and read his first published novel, he works in advertising.
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