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The Fastest Loser [Paperback]

Gideon A. Mailer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

1 July 2012
The Olympic Village has never been explored in literary fiction, until now... Herman arrives in a village where Iranians share the bus with Israelis; where Chinese gymnasts eat alongside their rivals from Taiwan; where German and British athletes jog through the streets together; and where Kenyans and Ethiopians waggle their medals in unison. He is on a search for the right sporting heroes to conceive and raise a child. Unable to consummate his own relationships, and having witnessed death in the Munich Olympic Village four decades earlier, he wishes to make new life from love between different peoples, nations, and ethnicities. Herman encounters Lily Wei Lee, a gymnast from Chinese Taipei. Believing she could be an ideal mother, he searches for an appropriate athletic mate to be her partner. He encourages her flirtation with Moses, a long distance runner from East Africa's Great Rift Valley. Yet Lily develops a closer relationship with Roger Benjamin, a British sprinter. A rivalry between Roger and Moses develops, with humorous but also eventually shocking consequences. This is a novel about sporting destiny and the nature of human association, the tension between physical and spiritual love. There are references, images, and allusions to real and historical athletes, from all the world's Olympic Villages: from Derek Redmond to Fu Mingxia, from Bob Beamon to Sharron Davies, from Roger Federer to Sally Gunnell. All their destinies become associated with Herman's fate as "a go-between in the love and loves of the village's youth."

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Matador (1 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780882165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780882161
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,510,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Olympic Odyssey 29 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As the protagonist Herman would say, the Fastest Loser is a mating of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Wild Swans, My Uncle Oswald, Chariots of Fire and the King James Bible.

As a sports lover (and a wannabe member of the Olympic Family) I raced through the book like an Eritrean distance runner. It was surprising, thought provoking, sensitive, sometimes shocking, and unlike any other sports novel I have read.

The Fastest Loser has clearly been thoroughly researched, and Mailer has an obvious passion for and deep understanding of competitive sport, as well as the many historical and polical issues at play in the Olympic Village.

The scenes of Olympic competition have left me counting down the hours until the 2012 opening ceremony.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, intriguing and sensual 28 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book really captures the fevered atmosphere of an Olympic village where cultures and physiques mingle, both figuratively and literally. It's written with a highly evident delight for sport of all descriptions, yet the scars from the Munich massacre give this book a certain dignity not found in many fluffy tales of this nature.

My only real criticism is the italics. Does "lycra" (a word which features fairly often as you might expect) really need to be in italics throughout?
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