Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

76%

7 Critic Reviews

In the end, it's difficult not to root for Stephen, despite his impulsiveness and stubborn single-mindedness. And it's almost impossible not to admire Habash's starkly beautiful and moving novel.
-NPR

Synopsis

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.

 

About Gabe Habash

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Gabe Habash: Gabe Habash is the fiction reviews editor for Publishers Weekly. He holds an MFA from New York University and lives in New York.
 
Published May 15, 2017 by Coffee House Press. 304 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Stephen Florida
All: 7 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Mar 21 2017

...and though the story is overlong given Stephen’s straightforward trajectory, the novel’s grim, intense mood is admirably sustained. For this well-intentioned but troubled man, every victory is a pyrrhic one.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jun 07 2017

In the end, it's difficult not to root for Stephen, despite his impulsiveness and stubborn single-mindedness. And it's almost impossible not to admire Habash's starkly beautiful and moving novel.

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Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Rayyan Al-Shawaf on Jul 21 2017

Yet each and every time you think the guy’s going to take an irrevocable or even dangerous step, he stops short. In the end, his histrionics amount to very little, and you’re left wondering why Habash doesn’t have Stephen’s enforced non-wrestling (and girlfriendless) phase unhinge him and finally ignite the tepid story.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by JONATHAN RUSSELL CLARK on Jul 19 2017

Habash has created a fascinating protagonist in Stephen, a hard-driven athlete with a convincingly thoughtful mind — though an erratic one, too. Just when you think you’ve got Stephen pegged, he surprises you...

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The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Jun 07 2017

At its core, “Stephen Florida” is a story of isolation. Whether it’s the geographic isolation inherent to the North Dakota location or the self-enforced isolation in which Stephen chooses to exist, the notion of loneliness drips from every page ... a crazy-quilt tapestry that captivates and mesmerizes.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Trevor Corkum on Jun 16 2017

A spellbinding coming-of-age novel, Stephen Florida is not the kind of book content with clean plot lines or loose ends tied up neatly. Instead, it’s 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.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jun 07 2017

...it's almost impossible not to admire Habash's starkly beautiful and moving novel. Stephen Florida is brash and audacious; it's not just one of the best novels of the year, it's one of the best sports books to come along in quite a while.

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