Watch Me Go, the 2015 novel by Mark Wisniewski, illuminates not only the lives of its characters in a tour de force of literary suspense, but so too does it reflect, and refract the issues of racism, gender inequality and more.
These themes play out at the stables and race courses, the inner city and by ways of the New York area. Narrated in turns by the ill-fated, yet sensitive Deesh an African-American youth - implicated in the murder of a retired jockey - and Jan, the young Caucasian female who wants to race horses and who lives on the jockey's horse ranch where she falls for his son.
Their stories, characters, and almost impossible connections jump right from the headlines of today's 24 hour news cycle. But thankfully, Wisniewski loves his characters, and their truths, and his prose reveals a deeper perspective about those headlines by giving us the stories from the hearts and minds of his two principal protagonists.
here are two passages as an exhibit of how Wisnieski renders voice, character and tone and a sense of place for each:
"And here's where I both believe we'll win but also wish we wouldn't. I wish we could just get in Bark's truck and go home. I want to start the day over. I want to go back in time even before that, and meet the pigeon-toed woman before whatever happened in her life that forced her to call Bark. I want to make love to her back then, night after night, so often and well the drum will stay empty, and mostly I want to go all the way back to Madalynn." (33).
At this early stage, we empathize with Deesh as he taunts himself with regrets and about the past and misgivings of the present. Not only will that perspective enlarge, but so too will the consequences.
"The way the Corcorans had it set up then was the three upstairs went one each to Tug and my mother and Tug's parents, whereas Id sleep on the first-floor summer porch, a long narrow room surrounded by three walls of windows, the widest facing the lake. During the day, this room was the best because all around were thick oak trunks and shiny rhododendrons and white blooming wisteria, and there was a family of chipmunks who spied on you and redheaded woodpeckers who charmed you by working upside down, and at any time a metallic green hummingbird with a scarlet throat might zing past as fast as a falling star, sip from a purple clematis, then dart to a lily the color of a conch shell's throat, with jade and aqua and shimmering lake behind everything. " (38).
While her voice gives the impression of an idyllic setting, the fact she and her mother live with another family, and that Jan, the young female has no room of her own per se, should give the reader pause that Jan's life is anything but perfect.
But the point here is the how the tone and style reflect the different voices, their environments, backgrounds and problems. And you could read and enjoy Wisnieski's novel just to observe and appreciate his craft, though as I found, Watch Me Go provides a glimpse into an abundance of possibility, plausible and real, for readers to gain an inside and humane perspective of these two characters in these racially charged and violent times.