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The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter [Kindle Edition]

Craig Lancaster
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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From the Editor

In many ways, Craig Lancaster’s powerful new novel is a study in contradictions. Although it’s set in the gritty, down-on-its-luck world of professional boxing, it’s not really about sport any more than Raging Bull or Million Dollar Baby are. The main character—flawed, complex Hugo—isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but he has a good heart...mostly. Even when his self-destructive forays into alcoholism and drug dependence make you want to smack him upside the head, you still find yourself rooting for him.

The story takes place in the present but feels both classic and timeless—it could pass for a Warner Bros. film from the forties. And somehow it manages to be a tear-jerker despite not having a whiff of sentimentality. In short, Hugo Hunter is a high-wire act that shouldn’t work, yet does—and it might just be Craig’s best novel to date.

Hugo Hunter is about more than only Hugo, of course. It features a great supporting cast of fully realised, all-too-human, and flinty friends and family, and narrated by the sportswriter who’s Hugo’s mentor and conscience. Ultimately, this book is about memory, honour, second chances, and redemption. You might not want to be Hugo Hunter when you finish it, but you’ll know him.

- Terry Goodman, Editor

Book Description

From the bestselling author of 600 Hours of Edward comes the story of two small-town characters whose fates are inextricably linked.

Hugo Hunter, a would-be boxing champion, is thirty-seven, soft around the middle, and broke—his glory days long gone. Raised by his beloved grandmother, he is rough around the edges but has a kind heart. Watching Hugo ringside for nearly twenty years, sportswriter Mark Westerly has struggled to keep a professional distance while he’s served alternately as Hugo’s friend, mentor, and conscience. As Hugo lands on the ropes again, Mark steps in to try to save him and, along the way, gets an unexpected second chance of his own when he meets the gentle and lovely Lainie.

In this moving tale of human folly and kindness, can two people who’ve lived so long under the weight of their pasts finally find redemption?

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“This story ties it all together, from the boxer and the writer's eyes—the struggling middle, the bright beginning, and the path toward the end for Hugo Hunter and this Montana collection of characters. It's about the fraternity of the lost, and the tales they tell each other on their way back.” —Tim Kawakami, award-winning sports columnist, San Jose Mercury News

“To describe The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter as ‘a story about a boxer and a sports reporter’ would be too limiting. It's a story about the human condition, and about how, for better or worse, we all need each other. Lancaster masterfully crafts a timeless piece set in an American town, and creates characters so real I expect to meet them in a bar on my way through Billings, Montana. In short, Craig Lancaster is an author who constantly challenges me to step up my game. His latest novel only increases that challenge. Whereas Hugo Hunter’s best days might be behind him, Lancaster is just getting revved up.” —Elisa Lorello, bestselling author of Faking It, Ordinary World, and She Has Your Eyes

“Like Edward Stanton before them, Hugo Hunter and Mark Westerly are characters that shine with authenticity. Craig Lancaster may very well be the best writer I know when it comes to telling the stories of broken misfits struggling toward the light, and The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter may very well be his best book yet.” —Tyler Dilts, author of A Cold and Broken Hallelujah, The Pain Scale, and A King of Infinite Space

About the Author

Craig Lancaster is the bestselling author of the novels 600 Hours of Edward, Edward Adrift, and The Summer Son, as well as the short-story collection Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure. For twenty-five years he worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers all over the country. He lives in Billings, Montana, where he does freelance editing and design work in addition to his fiction writing.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2203 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477825444
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (1 Nov. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,607 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in Washington. Grew up in Texas. Lived his adult years in Texas, Alaska, Kentucky, Ohio, Washington, California and, now, Montana. It's the sort of background that informs Craig Lancaster's fiction, set largely in the contemporary American West and, particularly, his adopted home of Montana.

"I have these incredibly vivid memories of visiting Montana with my folks on family vacations, and following my dad, an itinerant laborer who worked in the oil and gas fields of the West when I was a kid," Lancaster says. "It was such a vast, beautiful, overwhelming place. From the first time I saw Montana, I wanted to be a part of it."

A couple of years after Craig's arrival in the Big Sky State in his mid-30s, he began chasing a long-held dream: writing novels. His debut, 600 Hours of Edward, was born in 2008 in the crucible of National Novel Writing Month, that every-November free-for-all of furious writing. In October 2009, it was published by Riverbend Publishing of Helena, Montana, and has since gone on to be selected as a Montana Honor Book and a High Plains Book Award winner.

His follow-up, The Summer Son, was released in January 2011 by AmazonEncore, to similar acclaim. Booklist called the new novel "a classic western tale of rough lives and gruff, dangerous men, of innocence betrayed and long, stumbling journeys to love."

Next came "Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure," a collection of short fiction, including pieces Lancaster originally published in Montana Quarterly magazine. That book, released by Missouri Breaks Press, came out in December 2011.

Lancaster's work delves deeply below the surface of its characters, teasing out the desires and motivations that lead us through our lives.

"It's all too easy to turn people into caricatures, but the truth is, we humans are pretty damned fascinating," he says. "For me, fiction is a way at getting at truth. I use it to examine the world around me, the things that disturb me, the questions I have about life -- whether my own or someone else's. My hope is that someone reading my work will have their own emotional experience and bring their own thoughts to what they read on the page."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A POWERFUL STORY OF HOPE & REDEMPTION! 2 Oct. 2014
By the GreatReads! TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter by Craig Lancaster is a story of life’s setbacks, hope and redemption told through the perspective of Mark Westerly, who is a sportswriter, about the life and struggles of a boxer Hugo Hunter. It is the story of two vastly different individuals whose lives intertwined for better or worse. Hugo Hunter was once a promising boxer but he didn’t quite make it. Mark Westerly covers Hugo’s ups and downs for nearly twenty years, from the time he was a teenage Olympic hero.

But somewhere along the way Hugo Hunter’s life came apart at the seams and his life spirals out of control. The downward slide has been swift, and Hugo is reduced to fighting small-time bouts against unknown street punks for a quick buck. As Hugo struggles to get himself out of the mess, his fate is inexplicably interwoven with that of Mark Wesley and both find themselves struggling to come out of the darkness.

In this sad, touching and redemptive story of triumphs and heartbreak, losses and gains, hope and lamentations, bestselling author Craig Lancaster masterfully crafted a powerful saga of human failures and man’s doughty and spirited resourcefulness to overcome any obstacle that life throws his way. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, this story of a boxer and a sportswriter is one tale that many readers will greatly enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and weep 11 Oct. 2014
By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have now read all 4 novels by Craig Lancaster and they just get better and better. This is the deepest so far as the life of the nearly man professional boxer , Hugo Hunter is laid bare. His triumphs and disasters over a 20 year career are examined through the eyes of the Billings' newspapers star sports writer who has covered Hugo's life since he was a bright athletic kid to the shambling drug addled washed up pug he has become. This is powerful writing about a hard cruel sport. How many fighters retire financially and mentally secure? Very few. Hugo could be any one of thousands of boxers over the years who end up in the gutter. Can Hugo, a decent man at heart , drag himself of the canvas of life and win before the final bell.
The lives of various other characters make interesting side stories. The kindly journalist , the long suffering manager , the long lost wife , the remote son.
Set in the recent past in the big sky state of Montana with its endless un punctuated roads , small last century towns and oil rich twenty first century boom towns are all described in living detail. The life and politics on a local paper are also exposed by the author , Craig Lancaster a died in the wool newspaper man which shows with his real descriptions, choice of vocabulary and most of all his gift for telling a good yarn. Laugh out loud or silently cry ? I did both.
This is a good yarn.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boxing clever 11 Oct. 2014
By Ian
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter is a fast-paced story about Mark Westerly, a seasoned journalist at the local rag who recounts stories from his own past and his long association with Hugo Hunter, a young Olympic medallist who never quite reached his potential in the pros.

Although the book charts the life-long friendship between journalist and boxer, the heavier blows are landed in the scenes from Westerly’s personal life. He covers his stormy relationship with first wife Marlene, his fractious father-son with Von in particular, and also the psychological aftermath of a failed marriage sunk by overwhelming guilt. This book is certainly not just for boxing fans, it’s about everyday dreams, losses, and possible chances of redemption. (more... )(less)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter 7 Oct. 2014
By Helen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved the summer Son and the wonderful Edward books by Craig Lancaster and was a bit worried about this being set around a boxer and a sports writer. I shouldn't have worried, he has once again given us a wonderfully crafted, believable story of human vulnerability, ambitions dashed, hope and resilience. He also gives us hope that there will be more of Hugo via a wonderful little twist in the story (no spoilers!!) The fact that it is written around boxing is as relevant as racing cars were in Garth Stein's (also wonderful) The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the acknowledgements Craig Lancaster says 'For anyone who's spent a few hours with my work, my gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you.' - I think the pleasure is all ours - thank you Mr. Lancaster! :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By DebsMcG
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I read the blurb I was doubtful that I could take boxer Hugo Hunter into my heart as much as I had previously done with Edward from my favourite books in a long time ‘Edward Adrift’ and ‘600 Hours of Edward’ but I relished a chance to enjoy a well written novel which you know is what you’ll get with Craig Lancaster. How wrong I was (not about the well written bit…that’s a given!) . There is room in my heart after all for Hugo and his friend Mark, both fallible and far from perfect but both sharing an endearing vulnerability. I’m always wary of spoiling things for others so all I will say is that the 'link in' is superb and I can only hope there will be more of that particular part of the story to come in future (you will know what I mean when you’ve read it!). Different again to the Edward books and ‘The Summer Son’ but equally touching.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by tig
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Fantastic story about more than boxing, about the family we make for ourselves and the family we are born with. well worth a read. Definitely will try more by Craig Lancaster
Published 2 months ago by Adam Sage
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gem
This book seriously surprised me. Quite the emotional roller coaster and not about boxing at all, really. And it was free. Bonus.
Published 5 months ago by rob sumpter
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read. I found it rather sad.
Published 5 months ago by Mo
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not my taste
Published 5 months ago by A.M.Mander
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 5 months ago by niall somerville
1.0 out of 5 stars Does this book ever start?
I trudged my way to 40% with this book on my Kindle and gave up. It just never started. I don't even know what the story was about as nothing with it could draw me in. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Johnboy
4.0 out of 5 stars got more interesting as i went through it.
got more interesting as i went through it .pulled no punches Sorry for that pun
An enjoyable read
Published 6 months ago by grey wolf
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 months ago by Darren B.
4.0 out of 5 stars Craig Lancaster does it again
If you want guns, special forces and fights, the this book is not for you. If however you want a fantastic story about a group of people who all care about each other and hide... Read more
Published 7 months ago by R ELLIOTT
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