Synopses & Reviews
Published together for the first time, this anthology of essays on boxing covers the sport in all its forms and at its many levels. Written in bestselling author Katherine Dunns characteristic vernacular, these pieces range from portraits of legendary fighters such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, and Mike Tyson to the unsung stories of trainers, amateurs, promoters, cutmen, and a pair of pugilistic priests. Spanning 30 years and including all who make up the vibrant boxing world, this compilation from one of the most original voices in American sports literature finely elevates the sport and communicates its beauty, passion, and character.
"Novelist Dunn (Geek Love) collects 22 essays and articles written over the last quarter-century. In 1980, Dunn's then-husband had her watch a fight on TV and from that day forward she was hooked. Soon afterward, Dunn began freelancing boxing pieces to an alternative paper in Oregon, the Willamette Weekly. Over the years, Dunn has written on such subjects as hand wraps and cuts, on fighters famous (Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler) and obscure (Andy Minsker) and on the phenomenon of women's boxing. Her articles have appeared in publications that include Playboy, Sports Illustrated and Mother Jones. Although Dunn's fiction is celebrated for its style, her essay prose rarely rises above the journeyman. Dunn seems to have a hard time deciding on her authorial position from essay to essay advocate, journalist or eyewitness and the lack of focus leaves the reader equally confused. Overall, the collection lacks unity: since Dunn is producing occasional pieces for various markets, she recycles the same details in different places, especially with the pieces on women and boxing. In a few articles, however, like 'Defending Tyson' and the Minsker pieces, Dunn unveils insight that exceeds the merely perfunctory. While Dunn may be an old pro when it comes to fiction, with boxing she remains an amateur, albeit an enthusiastic one." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An exciting new addition to boxing literature. [Dunn's] prose is brilliant, and in a game so fully immersed in danger and utmost peril, the most striking thing is . . . [her] humanity." Thom Jones, National Book Award finalist, The Pugilist At Rest
"Katherine Dunn understands the sport instinctively and writes about it intuitively in this rich collection of her work. Not to coin a cliche, One Ring Circus is a 'Knockout'!" Bert Randolph Sugar, writer and historian, Boxing Hall of Fame
About the Author
Katherine Dunn is an award-winning boxing journalist whose work has appeared in many publications, including Esquire, KO Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, The Ring, Sports Illustrated, and Vogue. She is the author of three novels, including Geek Love, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2004, Dunn and photographer Jim Lommasson won the Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize for their work on the book Shadow Boxers. She is currently associate editor of cyberboxingzone.com, an internet boxing encyclopedia and magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon.