They live, they write, they love; we read. Powell’s pays homage to the time-honored tradition of authors marrying their own with our list of today’s top literary power couples.
Stephen Florida lurks between primordial instinct and youthful indiscretion, producing a volatile protagonist equal parts single-minded misanthrope, budding romantic, and utterly tragic lost boy. A sardonic sidewinder of a novel, all gristle, sinew, and grit, until you hit the gooey innards of the book to find a warm vulnerability and a broken beating heart. Gabe Habash has crafted a brash, hallucinatory treatise that should be held onto with both hands. Recommended By Justin W., Powells.com
Stephen Florida is one of those books I casually opened to get a taste of and was pulled into by the unusual narrator. And then what was merely unusual (maybe even quirky) became crazier and crazier, as it became evident that Mr. Florida (not his real name) is delusional at best. The middle part, where the narration becomes more fractured, sort of reminded me of Letters to Wendy's (one of my favorite crazy books ever). This is a bold debut, and Habash captures well the suffocating pressure of solo sports as well as the cold flat landscape of North Dakota. Recommended By Kevin S., Powells.com
Stephen Florida is a wonderful, refreshing book with especially intimate access to Stephen's loneliness and obsession. The flow of the book between narrative and train of thought creates an interesting and unpredictable experience. And then there's the underlying suspense — will he win the NCAA Championship? From the first paragraph, Habash's powerful writing pulled me in and kept me captivated. Recommended By Kim S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Foxcatcher meets The Art of Fielding, Stephen Florida follows a college wrestler in his senior season, when every practice, every match, is a step closer to greatness and a step further from sanity. Profane, manic, and tipping into the uncanny, it’s a story of loneliness, obsession, and the drive to leave a mark.
“[Habash’s] writing is powerful and magnetic, with a quality that suggests it has been worked over to strip it bare of ornamentation but still leave it with a rare beauty that the greatest sportspeople, in a ring, on a court or on a pitch, can achieve.”The Guardian
“…Habash writes about the raw physicality of wrestling better than anybody this side of John Irving… A lively, occasionally harrowing journey into obsession.” Kirkus
"In Stephen Florida, Gabe Habash has created a coming-of-age story with its own, often explosive, rhythm and velocity. Habash has a canny sense of how young men speak and behave, and in Stephen, he s created a singular character: funny, ambitious, affecting, but also deeply troubled, vulnerable, and compellingly strange. This is a shape-shifter of a book, both a dark ode to the mysteries and landscapes of the American West and a complex and convincing character study." Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life
About the Author
Gabe Habash is the fiction reviews editor for Publishers Weekly. He holds an MFA from New York University and lives in New York.
Gabe Habash on PowellsBooks.Blog
I was never a wrestler, but I was always intrigued by how demanding and punishing and unforgiving it is, and how it's not exactly marginalized, but it doesn't have the same exposure that sports like football and baseball and basketball do. I thought that someone who would be willing to commit to something that was that unforgiving — that was a perspective...