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The Longshot Paperback – 1 Jun 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847374999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847374998
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,966,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

""The Longshot" takes the reader into the minds, hearts, and bodies of two highly dedicated and taciturn men. Kitamura's descriptions of mixed-martial-arts fighting are brutal yet beautiful....Her writing is spellbinding...in its power. Kitamura is a genuine discovery." -- "Booklist," starred review

"In her debut novel, The Longshot, Katie Kitamura delivers the reader into the exotic, bruising, and hypermasculine world of mixed martial arts with startling economy and even more startling insight...Kitamura excels at slicing and dicing to build tension. Hers is a dry-eyed viewpoint expressed through detail so sharp freeze-frames seem to turn kinetic. One lesson of The Longshot is you must fulfill your commitments, if only to find out what you're made of. Another is that Kitamura is a major talent." -- Boston Globe

"The Longshot takes the reader into the minds, hearts, and bodies of two highly dedicated and taciturn men. Kitamura's descriptions of mixed-martial-arts fighting are brutal yet beautiful....Her writing is spellbinding...in its power. Kitamura is a genuine discovery." -- Booklist, starred review

"If you're planning to get into the ring with the heavyweights of boxing lit (A.J. Liebling's The Sweet Science, Leonard Gardner's Fat City), you need a knockout hook. Katie Kitamura, in her debut novel, has one." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Katie Kitamura has produced a lean, taut little novel as authentic as any sport could hope to have represent it. The Longshot, her debut effort, reads the way we imagine the best fighters to be: quiet, measured, self-assured, always thinking ahead...[with] a fierce sense of elegance." -- The Daily Beast

"An extraordinary novel from a major new talent. In taut, pared-down prose, Kitamura takes the reader right into the ring." -- Hari Kunzru, author of The Impressionist

"This is a terrific debut: charged, intimate, raw. Here is an author who not only understands the alloying of muscle and mentality in sport, the elation and heartbreak of competition, and of life, but can also write about it all with compassion and beautiful austerity." -- Sarah Hall, author of The Electric Michelangelo

"Hemingway's returned to life -- and this time, he's a woman." -- Tom McCarthy, author of Remainder

"With refreshingly unadorned prose, Kitamura reduces to an intensely crystalline moment the tension surrounding a fighter and his coach as they prepare for a match. Kitamura's language sticks to the page with a delightful monocular clarity that invites readers to enter into the minds of these two men. The Longshot gives readers a rare glimpse into an intriguing world." -- Yannick Murphy, author of Signed, Mata Hari

"Back in the day, we'd have wondered how a woman -- a woman! -- could know so much about this brutally masculine world. The marvel today is that Katie Kitamura can write about it with such grace, compassion, and breezy confidence. She knows her way around the ring and the human heart." -- Elizabeth Benedict, author of The Practice of Deceit --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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Very readable, terse, Hemingwayesque story about the doubts facing an MMA fighter when he comes back to fight a monster of the ring - the first opponent to ever beat him in a fight. Not ever having been in a formal fight, I cannot say how true to life the inner turmoil of a fighter is before such an event, but Kitamura's account is pretty darned convincing. There must be a few MM Artists/boxers who have been tempted to do a runner before a particularly fearsome opponent. Another reviewer questioned the likelihood of the protagonist gutsing himself the day before the fight, but this, I think, is because he was coming in pounds underweight in the first place.
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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
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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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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