Michael Thomas's Man Gone Down is about a man who is definitely on his way down, but he does not go down without a fight. The unnamed narrator is on a mission, which he accomplishes at least partially. By the end of the novel, though, it is not certain if he will complete it. But neither is it certain that he will fail.
Following this man's story, which covers the course of four days, readers learn that the unnamed narrator reacts to the world as if he exists somewhere else, somewhere between his inner and outer realities. His thoughts fill this story more so than his actions. He is so absorbed in his thoughts that he often forgets to eat and sleep, which might account for his somewhat zombie-like motions. Two thoughts that he often repeats are that he loves his wife, Claire, and he fears he is too badly damaged. The love is apparent. He looks to Claire for solace. She is his base, his emotional support. Where he lacks courage, Claire is confident. When he is depressed, Claire remains hopeful. His thoughts are heavy. Hers are deep but light. The damage that he fears, although his circumstances give reasons for it, appears to be in questionable, even in his own mind. He worries about it, but he also questions if he is truly damaged. Sometimes he uses his supposed damage as an excuse for not doing what he either wants to do or thinks he should do.
The narrator is a very talented man. But his talents are often overshadowed by his doubts and fears. He is a proud man. But his pride often trips him up. He refuses gifts of food when he is hungry. He refuses jobs when he needs the money. He even comes close to refusing his wife's love and moral support, but it is not clear at the conclusion of the novel if he actually does so. Readers must draw their own conclusions. Does the narrator say good-bye to his wife and children? Or does he realize that they are the only things he has that are worth living for? Does he finally acknowledge that he is worthy of them?
The man of this story definitely goes down. The question that remains is this: Will he get up and try again?