Fight Song

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Overview


When his bicycle is intentionally run off the road by a neighbor's SUV, something snaps in Bob Coffin. Modern suburban life has been getting him down and this is the last straw. To avoid following in his own father’s missteps, Bob is suddenly desperate to reconnect with his wife and his distant, distracted children. And he's looking for any guidance he can get.

Bob Coffin soon learns that the wisest words come from the most unexpected places, from characters that are always ...

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Fight Song

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Overview


When his bicycle is intentionally run off the road by a neighbor's SUV, something snaps in Bob Coffin. Modern suburban life has been getting him down and this is the last straw. To avoid following in his own father’s missteps, Bob is suddenly desperate to reconnect with his wife and his distant, distracted children. And he's looking for any guidance he can get.

Bob Coffin soon learns that the wisest words come from the most unexpected places, from characters that are always more than what they appear to be: a magician/marriage counselor, a fast-food drive-thru attendant/phone-sex operator, and a janitor/guitarist of a French KISS cover band. Can these disparate voices inspire Bob to fight for his family? To fight for his place in the world?

A call-to-arms for those who have ever felt beaten down by life, Fight Song is a quest for happiness in a world in which we are increasingly losing control. It is the exciting new novel by one of the most surprising and original writers of his generation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An unusual take on a mid-life crisis narrative, Mohr's novel is an overwrought yet heartwarming farce that exposes the ridiculous and complicated currents of modern life. Video-game designer Bob Coffen, mastermind of the Disemboweler series, has lost his gumption. Adrift in a meaningless job, disconnected from his kids, and unaware of the depths to which he's failing his wife, Bob reaches a new low when, for his 10th anniversary at work, he is given a plock (a plaque and clock in one) frozen at midnight, a disturbing reminder of his irrelevance. Then, when Schumann, his psychotic thrill-seeking neighbor, runs him off the road, Bob becomes desperate for a new order. A madcap weekend of soul-searching ensues, featuring entertaining and vividly drawn characters like Schumann, obsessed with his glory days; a magician named Björn the Bereft who specializes in marriage counseling; a fast food worker at the Taco Shed who dabbles in drive-thru erotica; and a lovelorn janitor who plays in a Kiss cover band. While Bob's odyssey offers unexpected—often brilliant—confrontations of modern clichés, the plot meanders too far into the bizarre and sacrifices some of the empathy gained along the way. But Mohr's (Damascus) elegant writing and colorful milieu is refreshing, an interesting mix of Charles Bukowski and Tom Robbins, with a cinematic heaping of the Coen brothers for good measure. Agent: Dan Kirschen, ICM. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Fight Song

“…a Generation X call-to-arms about facing mid-life on our own terms with the unique heart that beats inside us all…Poignant, honest, and funny as hell. As diverse and unpredictable as Generation X itself, Fight Song captures the symbolism in the world we face while giving us permission to laugh at ourselves and the choices we've made in the process.” —Huffington Post

“For its irreverent beat, relentless energy, and sharp, funny characters, Fight Song may as well be titled Battle Cry.” —The Rumpus

“It’s hard to believe a suburban father’s desperate quest to turn his life around could be so much fun, but that’s exactly how readers are likely to react to Fight Song... a brisk, contemporary Odyssey with Cyclops and the sirens replaced by a cast of characters including a crying magician, who doubles as a marriage counselor and a bodybuilding fast-food worker who moonlights as a phone-sex operator. Mohr…brings a dollop of David Sedaris–like humor to the pathos. While irreverent, he gets to the heart of real emotion with bracing frankness…It’s a surprisingly sweet, rollicking tribute to anyone who’s ever needed a fight song to fight back.” —Booklist

“An unusual take on a mid-life crisis narrative, Mohr's novel… offers unexpected—often brilliant—confrontations of modern clichés…Mohr's elegant writing and colorful milieu is refreshing, an interesting mix of Charles Bukowski and Tom Robbins, with a cinematic heaping of the Coen brothers for good measure.” —Publishers Weekly

“Mohr has a clever imagination, and this book... hinges on some universal issues, namely Bob’s struggles to rekindle his romance, recapture his creativity, and regain control of his life. To the book’s credit, Mohr never loses the story’s emotional heart.” —Kirkus Reviews

"With his fourth novel, Joshua Mohr pushes himself into bold new territory and doesn't skip a beat. Fight Song is a whimsical, madcap, delightfully depraved fable for our age." —Jonathan Evison

“Bob Coffen of Joshua Mohr's Fight Song is among the most vivid characters I've encountered in recent fiction. He's a man so alive on the page, funny, self-depreciating, confused. We can all relate. As much love song as fight song, I found myself rooting for Coffen on every page of this surprising and poignant book.” —Peter Orner

"A wry, intelligent, and sublimely funny novel, Fight Song answers Big Questions while keeping the reader entirely absorbed and thoroughly entertained.” —Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers

“Think This is 40 set in Silicon Valley, filtered through Little Miss Sunshine with echoes of Wall-E and American Beauty – but uplifting!” —San Francisco Magazine

Library Journal
"Way out in a puzzling universe known as the suburbs, Bob Coffen rides his bike to work." That's the first sentence of Mohr's new novel, and the satire comes thick and fast on each page. Coffen is our hero, a likable schlemiel at a desperate crossroads. He designs video games and washes down vodka rather than connect with his wife and kids, even as his alpha-dog neighbor runs him off the road. While the territory may be a cliché, the writing itself is brisk and enjoyable. Mohr (Some Things That Meant the World to Me; Termite Parade) goes for slapstick rather than subtle emotional depths; a magician who does marriage counseling at a supper club, a football theme song played on bagpipes, and a world-record water-treading attempt are some of the many subplots. The effect, thankfully, is charming rather than cloying, and smart pacing (and chapters that each bear a headline) make this an easy weekend read. VERDICT There's still plenty to be said about middle-aged white guys in the suburbs. Especially if the storyteller is funny.—Travis Fristoe, Alachua Cty. Lib. Dist., Gainesville, FL
Kirkus Reviews
A midlife crisis takes a handful of surreal turns in Joshua Mohr's (Damascas, 2011, etc.) latest novel. Bob Coffen has two kids, a suburban home, an athlete wife whom he adores and a successful career building violent video games. But as his marriage begins to crumble, Bob's life becomes unhinged in sometimes amusing, sometimes poignant ways. The story opens on a bad day for Bob: He's been insulted by his boss and nearly run over by his neighbor, Schumann, a macho type who's never gotten over his football-hero past. Then, his wife, Jane, drags him to a marital seminar held by magician Bjorn the Bereft, whose conjuring tricks literally put Bob's marriage on thin ice. When Jane throws him out of the house, Bob enlists Schumann as his coach and begins a quest to pull himself together. He first bonds with Tilda, a waitress at his favorite fast-food joint who has a profitable sideline doing phone sex through the takeout intercom. His other new friend is Ace, a janitor at his company who moonlights in a Kiss tribute band that sings everything in French, hence their name, French Kiss. While Bob designs a bestiality-themed game, Jane trains to set a world record for treading water. Mohr has a clever imagination, and this book's elaborate jokes sometimes overdo the cleverness: Schumann, who speaks entirely in football-coach lingo, can be too much of a cartoon. But the story also hinges on some universal issues, namely, Bob's struggles to rekindle his romance, recapture his creativity and regain control of his life. To the book's credit, Mohr never loses the story's emotional heart.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593765088
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 994,077
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Joshua Mohr is the author of the novels Termite Parade (a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice selection), Some Things that Meant the World to Me (one of O Magazine's Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller), and Damascus, published in the fall of 2011 to much critical acclaim. Mohr teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.
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