The Fighter

The Fighter

4.2 5
by Craig Davidson

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You don't know pain.See more details below


You don't know pain.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Two young men heading in opposite directions find their destinies linked by violence in Davidson's dripping-with-testosterone debut novel (following story collection Rust and Bone). After he gets beat up at a bar, Paul Harris questions his coddled, trouble-free life and embraces obsessive workout routines and steroids before finding boxing, the perfect outlet for his newfound rage. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Rob Tully is a boxing star in training on the path to a Golden Gloves tournament. Paul seeks to embrace his new self through the grandeur and punishment of boxing, while Rob struggles to find himself by escaping from that very same world. Their paths cross when Paul fights Rob's uncle in an underground match, and odds-on loser Paul wins, at a big price. Davidson's writing is terse, coarse and fluid in descriptions of exposed viscera, splattered blood and broken bones. There's an unmistakable Palahniuk influence at work. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Nose popped in a brawl, butter-fed scion of a winery magnate goes bonkers for payback. Seeking revenge less on the goon who whacked him than on his namby-pamby past, he aspires to become Pleistocene. Wilted from a ho-hum night with a joyless date, Paul Harris gets jumped by trailer trash in a tapas bar. Davidson (Rust and Bone, 2005) isn't kidding; for him, such obviousness constitutes class struggle. Across town, Robbie Tully, third-generation boxer, trains in Top Rank, a basement club that's mega-prole: "CLUB TOWULS ARE FOR SWET ONLY, NOT BLOOD!!!," a wall-sign reads. From the beginning, the pair's face-off is pre-destined; on the way there, we get Paul's rebellion against soft-palmed, hard-assed Pops, intriguing inside-skinny on boxing history (19th-century pugilists soaked their mitts in walnut juice) and Robbie's shaky romance with a neighborhood hottie certain he's just too good to end up a brokedown pug. So far, so Rocky-meets-Fight Club. But the former at least was (clunkily) inspiring, and the latter told Jungian truths about "persona" and "shadow" in a peachy-Nietzsche kind of way. Here, there's no metaphysics, only meat. Rhapsodic homoeroticism alternates with emetic violence. The full extent of Paul's Oedipal conflict and Iron John psychopathology exerts a sick fascination, and the prose is Harry Crews on steroids. As these brutes collide and collide and collide to the soundtrack accompaniment of Cannibal Corpse's "I Cum Blood," readers may long for Proust, or Disney, or even the back of a breakfast-food box. More a grunt than a novel. "Macho" doesn't begin to cover it.

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Product Details

Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

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