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The Longshot Paperback – 27 May 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184739521X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847395214
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Katie Kitamura was born in 1979 and divides her time between London and New York. The Longshot is her first novel.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Trevelyan on 22 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
I like reading novels by new writers and that is one of the reasons why I chose this one, also it is out my comfort zone which usually consists of thrillers and chick lit.
The book is well written and flows nicely and is in the main a detailed character study of Cal and Riley as well as the ever present Rivera.
The plot is simple, Cal is facing a rematch against the legendary Rivera, four years in the making. UP until the moment he steps into the ring he is confident he will be alright, after all he is the only man whom Rivera has failed to knock out. He realises as soon as he steps into the ring that Rivera means business.

I know nothing about the world of fighting but the way the preparations are described are convincing and compelling, the weigh in and buzz from journalists, the crowd filling the arena ratchet up the tension before the fight begins. As a reader you certainly begin to share in Cal's emotions and will him on, the fight itself is brutal and described in detail.

On the surface the novel may seem to be just a description of a fighter preparing for the most crucial fight of his career but look deeper and you will see that the fight is how Cal and Rivera and Riley judge their own success and failures, what it means to have to let go of your dreams and how things change as we grow older.

A great debut novel that I would recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Derek Hynes on 5 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
It doesnt matter if you are not a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, describing the Longshot as a work about fighting is like saying Fight Club is about boys beating each other up. I havent been this excited about a debut novel since Craig Davidsons, The Fighter. This gem of a book stays with you after you've finished reading it, something that unfortunately doesnt come around too often. The taut sharp prose is as economical as punches from a veteran fighter and its hard to believe at times that this is the first offering from a promising new writer.

Excellent debut worthy of its 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback
I was so ignorant of this subject that I thought that mixed martial arts was similar to mixed doubles at tennis. I now know it to be 'a full contact combat sport that allowing both full-body striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, familiar from other combat sports. The sport is popular in Brazil, Mexico, Japan and brought to the United States in 1993'.

The debut novella is essentially a spare, two-hander considering ex-fighter and trainer Riley and a once-exciting young prospect, Cal, who arrive in Tijuana to fight a long-delayed return match with Rivera, an undefeated and seemingly-indestructible fighter. Following this earlier defeat ‘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’. The sport is a bestial one and this is reflected in the story which takes place over the 3 days running up to the fight. Whilst the author is deeply knowledgeable about the almost choreographic moves that may fly over the heads of most readers, these and the resulting violence are always placed at the service of her narrative. Unlike Hemingway and Mailer, she does not glory in the violence.

Instead, the book focuses on the relationship between the two men as the enormity of the bout and its possible consequences become starker. The novella portrays the depth and psychological complexity of the athlete/trainer relationship, the monastic devotion to training and the financial and social pressures on young to dedicate their lives to the sport. Neither man is a talker and the book beautifully integrates their internal musings and talk about the fight. The style is one of short, sharp sentences, attacks almost, with few long words.
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Format: Paperback
A few pages into the book this reader was reminded of John Huston's 1972 film "Fat City" starring Jeff Bridges as a lonely journeyman boxer without a manager, travelling by bus from fight to fight, living wherever the promoters decide to dump him.
This book's heroes are Cal, once an unbeatable, natural-born fighter and Riley, his manager for the past ten years. Cal engages in a mixed form of martial arts, whereby boxing, wrestling and the use of low and high kicks, and knees are allowed. Cal is portrayed as the best in this type of fighting until he lost four years ago on points from his two years-younger challenger Rivera, after three grueling rounds. Since then Rivera has knocked out every contender in a matter of seconds or minutes, netting 8-900.000 USD per fight. Since the points decision, Cal has lost on points from opponents he should have blown away. But he has never been knocked out.
The rematch with Rivera is scheduled in Tijuana, Mexico. Cal and Riley drive to the venue by car and are billeted together in a cheap room (USD 46 a night)in a shabby hotel and are advised to take their meals in the restaurant next door...
The authour never comments. Cal's and Riley's deep thoughts (often repeated) and their spoken words, always terse, push this curious and compelling book slowly forward. At three quarters into the book, readers still know little about Cal and Riley, except for some clues strewn around by the author. But by then they should really perk up and anticipate quantities of awesome drama... The best quarter of the book!
Ambition, rancour, doubt and fear are only a few of the feelings guiding the main protagonists in this debut novel written in the simple English fighters and their managers are expected to use. Deep book.
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