|About the Book|
Things have never really gone right for Dr. Stone Rosen, a 31 year-old college professor living in New York City. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else: as a teenage football star from Pittsburgh, an anomalous heart ailment derails his dreams ofMoreThings have never really gone right for Dr. Stone Rosen, a 31 year-old college professor living in New York City. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else: as a teenage football star from Pittsburgh, an anomalous heart ailment derails his dreams of playing college football- the following years are marred by eccentric and excessive behavior that constantly alienate him from his friends and family- and although he masters three different languages and publishes a few articles on literary criticism while pursuing his MA and PhD, he also accumulates massive debts. Finally, right when Stone starts to make some progress on his dissertation at Columbia, the exacerbation of his heart ailment leads to emergency open-heart surgery. The months that follow find Stone wandering the streets of Manhattan in a hallucinatory daze caused by his serious addiction to painkillers. Yet through this life marked by negativity, Stone somehow overcomes it all by finishing his PhD, receiving a good job at a New York college, and surprising his friends and family by publishing a critically acclaimed novel that leads to some moderate fame. However, the opening pages of the novel shockingly find the protagonist dead just two months after the publication of his book, as Stone Rosen’s heart stops while having sex with a coed ten years his junior.Grief stricken and outraged, those close to him attempt to make sense out of something that is both tragic and shocking. Occurring during the spring of 2006, this character-driven narrative reveals an absent protagonist whose death is the starting point of a tale that takes the reader through a vast web of characters and their thoughts regarding a lost friend and family member. The ironic Stone Rosen comes to represent a true American dichotomy: he is a childish womanizer and a dedicated lover- at one time an impassioned high school football player, later a multilingual scholar of literature- a healthy gym rat and a man ridden with heart disease- a pervert and a romantic. Through the words of his unconventional older sister, his abrasive brother-in-law, his bereaved parents, and his oftentimes-hysterical friends, we get a character portrait of someone who is both full of life and ever conscious of death. This non-linear tale takes the reader through a whirlwind of flashbacks and anecdotes, all of which create a singular character through multiple perspectives and multiple mediums: the written letter, dreams, email conversations, diary entries, text messages, short stories, and distant memories.Influenced mostly by Virginia Woolf, Thomas Wolfe, and Bret Easton Ellis, Off He Goes is often shocking in its blunt sexuality and non-linear narrative. What becomes more surprising is Stone Rosen’s poetic sensibility in his multifarious critiques of pop-culture, New York City, relationships, sports, and academia. Yet haunting the entire text are the rumors surrounding Madeleine, the young girl whom Stone spends his final evening with before his death. And the ending takes you back to Stone’s last day alive and the astonishing revelation that he discovers during his final night out with Madeleine, a revelation that he may or may not take with him to the grave. Off He Goes is an ambitious story that is earnest and comedic all at once. As a whole, the tale paints a portrait of both the fragility of life and the understanding that sometimes comes with death.