Stephen Florida

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Book Overview

‘Powerful and magnetic’ Guardian

‘Mind blowing’ Roxane Gay

‘Explosive’ Hanya Yanagihara

‘Funny and disturbing’ Lauren Groff

Foxcatcher meets The Art of Fielding. A coming-of-age story and a psychological journey into the mind of a young man teetering between genius and insanity.

Stephen Florida is a college wrester in his senior season, fixated on winning his Championship fight: every practice, every match, is a step closer to greatness and a step further from reality. Profane, manic and tipping into the uncanny, this is his story of loneliness, obsession, and the drive to leave a mark.

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.


‘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’ Guardian

‘Mind blowing’ Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist

‘A coming-of-age story with its own, often explosive, rhythm and velocity … 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

‘Such a funny and disturbing and excellent book’ Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

‘Excellent … Gabe Habash takes us deep inside the disordered mind of a college wrestler. Welcome to the hall of fame of unreliable narrators’ BuzzFeed

‘An unforgettable addition to the canon of great literary eccentrics. At once a chronicle of obsession, a philosophical treatise, and a deeply affecting love story, this singular novel is perhaps most profoundly an anatomy of American loneliness. Gabe Habash is a writer of powerful gifts, and this is a wonderful book’ Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

‘Utterly engrossing’ Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

‘Habash has created a fascinating protagonist in Stephen, a hard-driven athlete with a convincingly thoughtful mind … Just when you think you’ve got [him] pegged, he surprises you’ The New York Times Book Review

‘Dizzyingly good’ Huffington Post

‘Habash writes about the raw physicality of wrestling better than anybody this side of John Irving… A lively, occasionally harrowing journey into obsession’ Kirkus

‘Wickedly good … exquisite … [Stephen Florida] is the taught, erratic, boundless contradiction of what it means to be alive’ Los Angeles Review of Books

‘One of the most unforgettable characters in recent American fiction … starkly beautiful and moving … one of the best novels of the year’ NPR

‘Spellbinding’ Toronto Star