THE PROTAGONIST of local author Dan DeWeese's You Don't Love This Man, Paul, is a bank manager in a mid-sized Pacific Northwest city (one that bears a suspicious resemblance to Portland). Paul has been robbed twice in his career—improbably enough, both times by the same man. It's a coincidence that brackets the chronological events of the novel: On the day of the first robbery, he meets the man who will become his best friend. The second time around, 25 years later, the very same friend is about to marry Paul's daughter.
Paul swallows the May-December relationship between his friend and his daughter, albeit with some discomfort. But when his daughter disappears on her wedding day, he assumes she must be fleeing the mistake she's about to make. Ignoring his responsibilities at the bank, he throws himself into the task of finding her—not realizing how little he understands the real reasons for her behavior.
Paul is reminiscent of Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe: a first-person male narrator who tells his own story with deliberation and restraint, leaving the reader to speculate about what's really going on in this man's life. Of particular interest—spotlighted wryly by DeWeese—is just what the women around Paul know that he doesn't (quite a bit, it turns out). Paul is utterly sympathetic even in his faults, and as he comes to a sort of reckoning with his own limitations—and with what, exactly, he is losing on his daughter's wedding day—DeWeese details the process with subtlety and humor.