The Mark Childress page                     
Gone for Good


Original jacket copy, Knopf edition

In his fifth novel, the much praised author of Crazy in Alabama gives us the wild, comic, and ultimately moving odyssey of a 1970s folks-rock star, Ben “Superman” Willis.

Superman has been riding a wave of success in the years since the Beatles broke up and rock and roll wore itself out. But stardom is not what he thought it would be: the only time he's truly happy is when he's up in his plane, flying alone to the next concert, his son Ben Junior stashed at home in L.A., and his wife Alexa -- a former Miss Southwest Louisiana -- following along in a bus down below.

One night, after a show in El Paso, he flies head-on into the adventure of his life. A fierce thunderstorm, an emergency landing in Mexico, and some mind-blowing dope send him thousands of miles off course to a perilous crash landing on a beautiful, mysterious tropical island -- a vision of Paradise, and, on the beach, a remarkable female apparition.

Back home, Alexa and Ben Junior are stunned by the news of Superman's disappearance. The out-of-this-world memorial concert at the Hollywood Bowl is no more than a brief distraction from the cataclysmic changes that occur when a man vanishes from the face of the earth. What they don't know, and what Superman will learn only slowly, is that he's very much alive, trapped against his will in a place where famous people go to disappear.

Gone for Good is the story of Superman's life on this island, a collection of famous and notorious people from all over the world hiding a terrible secret. It's also the story of Ben Junior's search for his father, and a spiritual exploration of the mysteries of celebrity, success, money, love, sex ... and magic.

PAT CONROY: "Mark Childress's new novel, Gone for Good, is wildly imaginative, entirely original, and as quirky as a tequila worm. It's drawn on a very large canvas and Mr. Childress, as always, stretches his enormous talent into new and amazing shapes. This book is part magic realism, part Peter Pan as told by Truman Capote to Antoine de St.-Exupery. And I expect his next book to be about polar exploration."

CLYDE EDGERTON: "If you like rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, bluegrass, circuses, state fairs, or volcanoes, then you'll love Gone for Good. And beneath the fine music, fabulous rides, and bright lights of this book run the warm currents of home and love. The magic of this book is that Mark Childress somehow does it all together.... Somehow Mark Childress has managed to both celebrate and criticize this, the craziest of all Ages, the Age of Celebrity."

FANNIE FLAGG: "Mark Childress's new book, "Gone for Good," proves once again that he remains one of the most original and imaginative writers of our generation."


ANNE LAMOTT: "Well, Mark Childress has gone and done it again, given us a novel full of heart and magic, poetry, and great good humor."

“"Gone for Good,’ Mark Childress’ wonderfully imaginative new novel, is brimming with magic and mystery ... a modern-day fable with echoes of Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, Peter Pan, and the Wizard of Oz, it’s a terrific summer read -- meaty enough to make you think, but breezy enough to consume with almost effortless delight. Childress crafts novels smoothly and tells stories that reel you in irresistibly.”
-- Charlotte Observer

“Childress is great with myth and magic, treating them as a part of everyday life most people overlook. And his archetypal themes shape up as not only plausible, but necessary ... Childress grasps what we all imagine are the narcissistic joys of rock stardom and the self-loathing that comes from selling your soul. “Gone for Good” finally pulls out all the stops, climaxing with machine guns, explosions and superhero battles. There's not one American author in 1,000 who could pull it off. Childress does, proving that in this book, he's the real magician.”
-– Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“"Gone for Good’ is a comic gem.
”-- San Francisco Chronicle

“A story that takes off like a 747 and doesn’t let up.”
-- San Francisco Examiner

“Mark Childress branches out into new imaginative territory with "Gone for Good" ... like Superman himself, the book has a shaggy-dog charm, and in the end, the author produces some moving truths about fame, love, and what it truly means to disappear.”
-- Amazon.com Reviews

“Childress comes through again with a painfully sensitive portrait of a manchild."
– Rocky Mountain (Denver, Co.) News

“The author’s flights of imagination are exhilarating.”
– The Hartford Courant

“Like Superman Willis' revved up plane taking off in the night sky for parts and crash landings unknown, Childress' imagination takes flight at full throttle. What emerges is a wild and odd and fun place to visit.”
– Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A spellbinding potion ... Mark Childress gives muscle and sinew to his stowaway cast, grit and green to his beach and jungle setting, and heart and soul to the fantasy plot of this multilayered tale.”
-- Southern Living magazine

“Ben is far from a hero, but as his redemption becomes possible, you find yourself pulling for him ... "Gone for Good” is animated by a genuine sweetness of spirit that’s hard to find these days -- and all the more to be savored for its rarity.”
-- Islands magazine

“Skillfully-written, take-you-away-from-it-all escapism. Childress does a fine job of blending two stories, and his lovely descriptions read true ... a fun, well-told adventure story with some thought-provoking commentary on the worth of some things that seem to matter most to us -- celebrity, success, money, love, sex."
-- Birmingham News

“This is the story of a man who is lost spiritually as well as physically and manages to find his way back to the things and people that matter ... compelling reading by the author of "Tender" and "Crazy in Alabama." Recommended for all fiction collections.”
-- Library Journal

“A masterful fantasy ... like Lewis Carroll taking us with Alice as she falls down a rabbit hole, Mark Childress leads readers of ‘Gone for Good’ into an alternate world they never dreamed existed. Hats off to Childress for a thoroughly good read.”
– Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal-Star

“‘Gone for Good’ is all over the map and hilarious at it. But where father and son meet is where comedy takes a back seat and X marks the spot.”
-- Memphis Flyer

“If you are looking for a wild, roller-coaster ride of a novel, give yourself a treat and savor Mark Childress’ original and imaginative odyssey, ‘Gone for Good. Trust yourself to become mesmerized by the magic Childress weaves. Quirky? Yes. Enjoyable? Absolutely.”
– Newport News (Va.) Press




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