“The special squeaks and thumps heard in practice, which is the sound of your own flesh’s wet exertion…”

– Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

 

“I’ve gone about as far as I can go with this body, Ted.”

– Linda Litzke, Burn After Reading

                                                                                                                                 

Gabe Habash’s brand new novel Stephen Florida puts you in a literary headlock and holds you there until you like it. You become enthralled—nay, enraptured—with an orphaned college wrestler living in a town you’ve never heard of. Whether it’s loneliness fueled by obsession or obsession fueled by loneliness, it breeds an unhealthy determination in Stephen reminiscent of a Coen Brothers character: one Linda Litzke from Burn After Reading.

 

With this movie and novel pairing, you’ll find:

  • Characters that put the ‘mania’ in monomania, with goals not always understood by others
  • Clueless authority figures
  • Pitiable assignations and reconnaissance work
  • Unapologetic misanthropes
  • Madness so pure it becomes its own form of logic
  • Unexpected surges of violence blended with crude jokes
  • Blatant interference with the secret lives of strangers
  • Juiced-up gym rats
  • Intellectuals tumbling from their established perches
  • Schoolyard-level insults in serious contexts
  • Inescapable failures and futilities
  • Deep-seated motivation so powerful it corrodes everything it surrounds
  • Permanent physical changes as trophies of value systems

 

This pairing proves that you can be both an idiot and a genius simultaneously. That maturity is surprisingly imbalanced, and wisdom can be at odds with knowledge. Steep tiers of success are met with leveled playing fields in a fierce competition with the self more than anyone else. And when you’re wavering in enthusiasm, simply “Drink your green camel-hump juice and say to yourself you’re not a wastrel.”