4.2 5
by Craig Davidson

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You don't know pain.


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.

Product Details

Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.73(d)

Meet the Author

Craig Davidson was born in Toronto and now lives in Calgary, Alberta. He is the author of the acclaimed short story collection Rust and Bone, which was published by W.W. Norton in the US, Penguin in Canada, Albin Michel in France, and Picador in the UK.

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Fighter 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
brightCS More than 1 year ago
This incredibly brutal novel provides a mirror of our own personal weaknesses, and strengths. Hard to read at times and delicious at others 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be quite entertaining. I would definately recomend the book to anyone who is a fan of competitive fighting, a fan of Chuck Palahniuk, or Sam Sheridan. At some points in the book I was not super impressed but at others I saw some pure brilliance in his writing. His use of language really brings you into his work, something I have had a hard time getting from other authours lately. I will definately be buying his next book.
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
I do not know how to even begin my review. The Fighter by Craig Davidson is a masterpiece work of fiction. It is not for the weak, this book will disturb you. Any book that makes me feel uncomfortable is worth my money. Boxing gives these characters something to live for, it makes them who they are. Read this book, I promise you will enjoy it. I am a better person after reading The Fighter.