Questions and Topics for Discussion
Douglas “Deesh” Sharp has managed to stay out of trouble living in the Bronx, paying his rent by hauling junk for cash. But on the morning Deesh and two pals head upstate to dispose of a sealed oil drum whose contents smell and weigh enough to contain a human corpse, he becomes mixed up in a serious crime. When his plans for escape spiral terribly out of control, Deesh quickly finds himself a victim of betrayal—and the prime suspect in the murders of three white men.
When Jan, a young jockey from the gritty underworld of the Finger Lakes racetrack breaks her silence about gambling and organized crime, Deesh learns how the story of her past might, against all odds, free him from a life behind bars.
Interweaving Deesh’s and Jan’s gripping narratives, Watch Me Go is a wonderfully insightful work that examines how we love, leave, lose, redeem, and strive for justice. At once compulsively readable, thought-provoking, and complex, it is a suspenseful, compassionate meditation on the power of love and the injustices of hate.
ABOUT MARK WISNIEWSKI
Mark Wisniewski’s fiction has been published in The Best American Short Stories, The Southern Review, Antioch Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His stories have won a Pushcart Prize and a Tobias Wolff Award, and numerous fellowships in fiction. He lives with his wife on a lake in upstate New York.
- One of the themes of Watch Me Gois choice versus fate. Did Deesh’s trouble arise because he made bad choices or because his choices were limited by fate to begin with? Has your own background ever limited your choices in life? Have you ever felt doomed—or favored—by fate?
- Another theme in Watch Me Gois love versus hatred. Is there a character in the book who embodies the most genuine love? Who do you feel is most hateful?
- If Jan hadn’t stepped forward to tell Deesh her story, would Deesh have had any chance to be released from prison? Did Deesh’s presence in that small white visiting room help Jan deal with her feelings about her difficult summer? Who needed the other more in the relationship between Jan and Deesh?
- Do you believe, as Tom said, that his primary reason for gambling was that he felt the need to raise money for Jan and her mother? Explain why or why not.
- If you had been Madalynn, would you have gone to Rikers Island to visit Deesh? What would you have said to him? How forgiving would you have been?
- Consider the cop who confronted Deesh and Bark in the Bronx. Was he racist, or was he just joking around? Could his arguable racism have been used as a legal defense by Deesh or Bark, with respect to their “proactive” reactions to his taunts?
- Why did Tug gamble after Tom’s death? Did he have good intentions? At that point, do you think he was gambling as a way of mourning, or merely as a means of escape?
- Colleen didn’t speak much about her emotions in this novel. How do you think she felt when Tom was gambling away their money? Do you believe she supported him emotionally as he gambled? Was she angry or relieved when he disappeared? How do you think she felt when he was found?
- Did Gabe ever have true intentions to help Deesh disappear from society? Was Gabe suicidal before Deesh took him hostage? If so, why?
- What crime, if any, is Deesh guilty of? Does he deserve to be punished? Do you think he will receive a prison sentence? Why or why not?