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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.)
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"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 alternate Paperback edition.
I am not a fan of any fighting, mixed, boxing none of the above. I can't bear to watch any of them even on TV. However, this book is not about fighting. Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by Kim R. Shearer
THE LONG SHOT is one of those rare books that comes out of nowhere and just completely surprises you. Read morePublished on September 12, 2011 by Garvinstomp
The book says "he cleared his throat" so many times that I wondered what the author was trying to get at. You read it...and count the number of times that phrase is used... Read morePublished on August 14, 2010 by Goodbye
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... Read morePublished on June 7, 2010 by Alfred J. Kwak
don't buy this book its boring, and the ending sucked which made a bad book worse.Published on April 22, 2010 by p mait
Having been a fan of Mixed Martial Arts competitions from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting, this book was a must read for me. Read morePublished on March 7, 2010 by Eagle Vision
The Longshot was a decent read and, for some reason I can't yet fathom, curiously captivating. It follows a mixed martial arts trainer and fighter over a few days that end in a... Read morePublished on November 6, 2009 by Tyler Forge
Do you remember The Contender? You may have read it in High School. It was a story about a young man from poor circumstances who becomes a boxer, and he discovers his own dignity... Read morePublished on September 28, 2009 by Amazon Customer
I'm but a casual MMA fan, so I'd like to think that I'm not so rabid about the fight game that I lose objectivity about a novel with MMA as the subject. Read morePublished on September 26, 2009 by H. Johnson