Thursday, December 2, 2010




They were mother and son. Kate and Bobby Fallon. He was to become the best white heavyweight of his generation, a rough, handsome contender from the streets and bars of Brooklyn. She was beautiful and alone.

In this tough, lyrical novel, Pete Hamill tells their story. He follows Bobby's rise from the obscurity of back alleys and prison to triumphant evenings in great arenas. Along the way, Bobby Fallon meets Gus Caputo, a trainer who is in boxing "for the beauty," and who sees the young man as his last chance to create a masterpiece. The hard, grueling process of learning a violent art has never been described with greater accuracy or more power.

Alongside the story of Bobby Fallon's ring career is the story of a sexual obsession. In lean, fast-moving prose, Hamill explores the sexual roots of Bobby's violence. With great feeling and lyrical power he traces Fallon's forbidden love affair, from its beginnings one snowy Christmas Day in New York to its culmination in the glittering casinos of Las Vegas.

Dominating the background of Bobby and Kate's story is a man who has become a memory: a midnight gambler named Jack Fallon, a man of charm and sudden angers, a man who was good with his hands, a man of terrifying courage -- Bobby's father and Kate's husband who one afternoon long ago walked out into America and vanished. In the years since, he haunts the lives of Kate and Bobby Fallon, and completes the triangle in which their lives are bound.

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