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Thrownby Kerry Howley
Synopses & Reviews
"Thrown is Kerry Howley's masterful debut. A work of rigorous nonfiction that's sure to be branded experimental, but that's as involving and page-turning as any book I've read in a while."—Gary Shteyngart
"Who can explain what draws a young brilliant writer—and a woman no less—to be mesmerized by the sight of a young man being pummeled in the ring? But out of this passion—maybe obsession—comes a great American story about overlooked heroes, the nature of violence, hope, love and nearly everything else that matters."—Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men
Acclaimed essayist Kerry Howley delivers a stunning debut as she infiltrates the world of mixed martial arts and the lives of two aspiring cage fighters: Erik "New Breed" Koch, a rising star, and Sean Huffman, ten years his senior, a fighter still living in a basement in Davenport, Iowa. For more than two years, Howley follows the men as they tear ligaments, lose a third of their body mass to make weight before fights, and forsake all stability in their quest to reach the octagon. Thrown offers an extraordinary, unfettered look into a culture that must destroy in order to reach redemption.
Kerry Howley's work has appeared in the Paris Review, the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, and frequently in Bookforum. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa's nonfiction writing program.
"This sui generis debut threatens to remap the entire genre of nonfiction. Howley, a philosophy student disillusioned by 'academic apple-polishing,' sets out on a quest to find the closest contemporary equivalent to Schopenhauer's concept of an ecstatic experience. She finds it, unexpectedly, in the world of mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fighting. Howley becomes a 'species of fighterly accoutrement known as a Ã¢Â€Â˜spacetaker,'Ã¢Â€Â‰' ingratiating herself into the lives of two cage fighters: Sean Huffman, a smash-nosed, cauliflower-eared veteran with a legacy of losing but never getting knocked out, and Erik Koch, a young, lithe, apprentice-level beginner 'destined for the big shows.' Howley's brilliant prose is as dexterous and doughty as the fighters she trails, torquing into philosophy, parody, and sweat-soaked poetry. At times, the narrative is difficult to follow, while the contrast between her highbrow analysis and the aggressive MMA subculture can be disorienting. Her year-long immersion in the sport, however, proves as captivating as any blood-spattered spectacle." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A woman infiltrates the violent world of mixed martial arts and investigates the lives of two cage fighters.
In this darkly funny work of literary nonfiction, a bookish young woman insinuates herself into the lives of two cage fighters—one a young prodigy, the other an aging journeyman. Acclaimed essayist Kerry Howley follows these men for three years through the bloody world of mixed martial arts as they starve themselves, break bones, fail their families and form new ones in the quest to rise from remote Midwestern fairgrounds to packed Vegas arenas. With penetrating intelligence and wry humor, Howley exposes the profundities and absurdities of this American subculture.
Kerry Howley's work has appeared in The Paris Review, New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Slate, and frequently in Bookforum. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program.
About the Author
Kerry Howley: Kerry Howley's work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and frequently in Bookforum. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa, where she was an Arts Fellow and the Provost's Visiting Writer in Nonfiction.
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