The Longshot: A Novel

The Longshot: A Novel

by Katie Kitamura
     
 

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Cal and his trainer, Riley, are on their way to Mexico for a make-or-break rematch with legendary fighter Rivera. Four years ago, Cal became the only mixed martial arts fighter to take Rivera the distance -- but the fight nearly ended him. Only Riley, who has been at his side for the last ten years, knows how much that fight changed things for Cal. And only Riley

Overview

Cal and his trainer, Riley, are on their way to Mexico for a make-or-break rematch with legendary fighter Rivera. Four years ago, Cal became the only mixed martial arts fighter to take Rivera the distance -- but the fight nearly ended him. Only Riley, who has been at his side for the last ten years, knows how much that fight changed things for Cal. And only Riley really knows what's now at stake, for both of them.

Katie Kitamura's brilliant and stirring debut novel follows Cal and Riley through the three fraught days leading up to this momentous match, as each privately begins to doubt that Cal can win. As the tension builds toward the final electrifying scene, the looming fight becomes every challenge each of us has ever taken on, no matter how uncertain the outcome.

In hypnotic, pared-down prose, The Longshot offers a striking portrait of two men striving to stay true to themselves and each other in the only way they know how.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Four years earlier, top Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Cal took on the powerful Rivera, who won the fight by judges’ decision. Now, at 29, Cal’s out to stage a comeback, à la Rocky Balboa. Spare and beautifully written, this debut novel follows Cal and his loyal trainer, Riley, as they head to Tijuana for the rematch. Cal and Riley privately wonder if they’ve made a huge miscalculation; Rivera this time is after a knockout, and Cal doubts that his body can withstand Rivera’s pounding, and questions if the fire in him is passion or just an overwhelming fear of retirement. In the world Kitamura creates, only these three men exist; there is no family or friends. She reveals Cal’s heart and mind as he struggles to understand himself as a man and as a fighter and paints the portrait of Riley as a loving but gruff friend and mentor. Kitamura, a journalist who for years has followed MMA matches, brings a physicality to her story with descriptions of the action so vivid the reader feels the pain of every punch and kick. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
Down-on-his-luck fighter travels south of the border for the rematch of his life. In her debut novel, journalist Kitamura indulges her interest in the mechanics of the mixed martial arts world with a sketch of two men at the edge of an emotional cliff. With throaty prose and peripheral detail, the author captures three decisive days in the lives of Cal, a wunderkind pugilist four years past a humiliating defeat, and Riley, Cal's trainer and protector, who knows quite well what it's like to spit out your own teeth. Their authentic, even touching partnership comes complete with the old arguments and terse verbal shorthand of longtime comrades. Their path has brought them back to the bloody rings of Tijuana for a rematch against Cal's nemesis Rivera, a bloodthirsty, one-punch titan whose claim to the championship has brought him acclaim and affluence. Cal, meanwhile, has been on unsteady psychological ground ever since Rivera beat him four years ago. "Fighting was never easy again. He took some losses. He sat and waited for his head to get back into the game. He waited fight after fight and then it hit him how long he'd been waiting. It hit him, how far away the game had gone. He saw it for the first time and he was bewildered by it. That the whole thing could be so fragile. That it could fall away so quick." The plot resolution is all but inevitable, the narrative short on momentum and long on self-realization, but Kitamura succeeds in penning a satisfactory addition to the canon of fight literature. While neither as heady as Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club nor as visceral as Craig Davidson's The Fighter, this convincing meditation on combat skews admirably close to the stories of F.X. Tooleas it plunges toward its harrowing ending. A real shot to the heart-a resonant portrait of a man out to prove he can take anything the world throws at him.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439117606
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
08/11/2009
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
428,591
File size:
279 KB

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Meet the Author

Katie Kitamura is based in New York. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Wired, and The Guardian, and is a regular contributor to Frieze.

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