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The acres and acres of fertile soil, the 200-year-old antebellum house, all gone. And so is the woman who gave it to Jack, the foster mother only days away from dying, her mind eroded by dementia, the family legacy she entrusted to Jack now owned by banks and strangers. And Jack's mind has begun to fail, too. The decades of bare-knuckle fighting are now taking their toll, as concussion after concussion forces him to carry around a stash of illegal painkillers and a notebook of names that separates friend from foe.
But in a single twisted night, Jack loses his chance to win it all back. Hijacked by a sleazy gambler out to settle a score, Jack is robbed of the money that will clear his debt with Big Momma Sweet - the queen of Delta vice, whose deep backwoods playground offers sin to all those willing to pay - and open a path that could lead him back home. Yet this sudden reversal of fortune introduces an unlikely savior in the form of a sultry, tattooed carnival worker. Guided by what she calls her "church of coincidence", Annette pushes Jack toward redemption, only to discover that the world of Big Momma Sweet is filled with savage danger.
Damaged by regret, crippled by 25 years of fists and elbows, heartbroken by his own betrayals, Jack is forced to step into the fighting pit one last time, the stakes nothing less than life or death. With the raw power and poetry of a young Larry Brown and the mysticism of Cormac McCarthy, Michael Farris Smith cements his place as one of the finest writers in the American literary landscape.
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By The Elf in the Kitchen on 05-15-18
One Powerful Book; One Increcible Listen
You know, it’s interesting how listening to a book you’ve actually read opens your senses and mind and heart and soul to a new resonance; the whole story takes on added depth, power, and intensity. Never in a bazillion years would I have thought the audio version of Michael Farris Smith’s The Fighter could take on MORE of what it was when I read it. BUT IT DID! Graham Halstead was a new narrator to my ears and it took a couple of turns to adjust to his style. Once his delivery tumbled from newness to a fit like a ‘broke-in leather glove’, he became the book and the book became him. I don’t care how terrific a book is, the right narrator/reader/performer is critical. In this case, Mr. Halstead brought a substance and identity to the characters and the story that showcased the depth of the author’s talent. So many standout themes in this book. Maryann’s commitment to Jack and vice versa; his visit to her nursing home bed was a searingly poignant and moving expression of love for the woman who would not stop believing in him. Jack’s descent into the world of cage fighting and Big Mama Sweet’s branding iron; Annette’s story of running away from and running toward; lives that are lived hanging on by a thread. So, do yourself a favor...READ The Fighter, then LISTEN to it. You won’t be sorry...nope, not one bit.
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