Stephen Florida

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Book Overview

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.


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

‘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

‘The prose is 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

‘Habash has a great eye for the ways in which our public identities and private insecurities are shaped by happenstance … full of vim and invention, good jokes and built-up bodies, unexpected sentences’ Paris Review Daily

‘Spellbinding. . . a deeply satisfying peek into the mind and heart of a troubled young man trying desperately to rein in the chaotic and multiplying forces of a world he cannot control’ Toronto Star