Antonia Logue Shadow-Box: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780802137227

Shadow-Box: A Novel

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9780802137227: Shadow-Box: A Novel
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A sweeping story of love, art, and boxing, this novel centers around the mysterious Arthur Cravan -- semiprofessional boxer, art critic, con man, nephew of Oscar Wilde. Cravan befriended Jack Johnson, the exiled black American boxer, in Paris; in 1916 they staged a fight to pay for Cravan's passage out of war-torn Europe. In New York, Cravan fell in love with the poet Mina Loy; they fled to Mexico and were married. Soon after, Cravan was lost at sea in a hurricane and presumed dead. In letters between Jack and Mina thirty years after Cravan's disappearance, Shadow-Box sketches this expansive tale in the era of tremendous social, artistic, and political upheaval before and during World War I.

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Review:

Antonia Logue's Shadow-Box blends historical fact with imaginative fiction in a sometimes awkward but ultimately compelling mix. Working in her favor is a cast of characters unlike any other. Mina Loy, the painter and Dadaist poet notorious for her beauty, her love affairs, and her flamboyant home-made hats; her husband, Arthur Cravan, a semi-professional boxer, art critic, and loup garou of polite society; and Cravan's friend Jack Johnson, Heavyweight Champion of the World on the eve of World War I, when being a black boxer meant facing death threats and abuse. Theirs is an extraordinary story, featuring cameos from art-world luminaries like Marinetti and Duchamp, and chronicling a passion as grand on the page as it was in real life.

The novel begins in 1946, 30 years after Cravan disappeared off the coast of Guatemala, as Mina and Jack begin a late-life correspondence. Reflective and far-ranging, their letters both recount their life stories and attempt to come to terms with the enigmatic figure of Cravan. Jack and Mina's voices too often sound alike, and the epistolary premise occasionally wears thin ("I was worried you might not write back--I'm glad you wrote back so fast. You're right in what you said. All the stuff we know about each other and we don't really know a damned thing..."). But there are other passages that ring both poetic and true to the historical characters they portray, as when Marinetti declares himself to Mina:

'Mrs Haweis, alone with stokers feeding the hellish fires of great ships, alone with black spectres who grope in the red-hot bellies of locomotives launched on their crazy courses, alone with drunkards reeling like wounded birds along the city walls, alone, it is you that I have come for Mrs Haweis, you alone.'
A few pages into each chapter, the narrative's sheer momentum takes over, and the reader is immersed in a world of boxing rings and surrealist salons, bullfights, and high modernist art. Believable, beautifully researched, this is a first novel of astonishing confidence and range. Look for great things in Logue's future. --Mary Park

From the Back Cover:

“Every once in a while an astounding new talent makes its presence felt on the literary stage. Antonia Logue is undoubtedly one of these talents.”
Toronto Star

“A fearless excursion into the nature of passion, through the blood-sports of boxing, poetry, and art.…A work of astonishing acuity.”
–Merilyn Simonds

Shadow-Box achieves the delicate alchemical reaction by which brute reality is converted into glittering, fictional gold.”
The Times (U.K.)

“An exuberant, audacious debut…”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“She floors the reader in the first seconds and lets you get up only to dazzle you with dancing and floating, feinting and impeccable combinations.”
Globe and Mail

“Immediately engrossing.…Its impact, like the best poetry or a powerful left hook, is visceral, intense, and enduring.”
Time Out New York

“Logue’s sentences fulminate with vigour and assurance. . . . [She] has a fluid, wide-ranging pen and creates hard-assed fight scenes as easily as languid recall of lovers’ first meetings.”
The Observer (U.K.)

“This is a furious novel about fighters and poets, fists and decadence, art and rage.…The humming, floating, stinging energy of her Jack Johnson pages suggest that Logue is a natural writer.…Logue knows how to carve a sentence packed with gusto. . . .”
–Montreal Gazette

“Ambitious and wide-ranging.…An enjoyable and entertaining novel.…”
Times Literary Supplement

“Imaginatively conceived and elegantly executed.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Remarkable.…”
Booklist (starred review)

“Logue’s writing is boldly descriptive and strikingly true.…With Shadow-Box Antonia Logue has given us a story that is exciting, significant, and beautifully told.”
Uptown Magazine

“A mesmerizing, beautifully written story…”
Sunday Independent (U.K.)

“…Outstanding.…Any writer who can blend boxing and undying love, Dadaism and racism, mad desire and maddening loneliness to such remarkable effect is certainly one to watch.”
Scotland on Sunday

“Ambitious…[Antonia Logue] has raised some interesting questions about the balance between great art and life, and the price always mercilessly extracted.”
-The Irish Times

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Book Description Grove Press, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. One of Ireland s most feted new writers, Antonia Logue has received the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize and was named one of the London Observer s Twenty-one Writers for the Twenty-first Century. Written with rich flavor and a vigorous historical imagination that recalls Penelope Lively, Shadow-Box is the debut of a powerful new storyteller. It is a sweeping story of love, art, and boxing centered around the mysterious Arthur Cravan -- semiprofessional boxer, art critic, con man, nephew of Oscar Wilde. Cravan befriended Jack Johnson, the exiled black American boxer, in Paris; in 1916 they staged a fight to pay for Cravan s passage out of war-torn Europe. In New York, Cravan fell in love with the poet Mina Loy; they fled to Mexico and were married. Soon after, Cravan was lost at sea in a hurricane and presumed dead. In letters between Jack and Mina thirty years after Cravan s disappearance, Shadow-Box sketches this expansive tale in the era of tremendous social, artistic, and political upheaval before and during World War I. Seller Inventory # AAC9780802137227

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Book Description Grove Press, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. One of Ireland s most feted new writers, Antonia Logue has received the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize and was named one of the London Observer s Twenty-one Writers for the Twenty-first Century. Written with rich flavor and a vigorous historical imagination that recalls Penelope Lively, Shadow-Box is the debut of a powerful new storyteller. It is a sweeping story of love, art, and boxing centered around the mysterious Arthur Cravan -- semiprofessional boxer, art critic, con man, nephew of Oscar Wilde. Cravan befriended Jack Johnson, the exiled black American boxer, in Paris; in 1916 they staged a fight to pay for Cravan s passage out of war-torn Europe. In New York, Cravan fell in love with the poet Mina Loy; they fled to Mexico and were married. Soon after, Cravan was lost at sea in a hurricane and presumed dead. In letters between Jack and Mina thirty years after Cravan s disappearance, Shadow-Box sketches this expansive tale in the era of tremendous social, artistic, and political upheaval before and during World War I. Seller Inventory # AAC9780802137227

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