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Shadow-Box

Logue, Antonia

ISBN 10: 0802116477 / ISBN 13: 9780802116475
Published by Grove Pr, 1999
Condition: Collectible: Like New Hardcover
From Crestview Books (Westerville, OH, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Like new hardback and jacket! Laid in is a signed note from Geoffre R. C. Hunt, Sales Manager at Grove/Atlantic asking Mr. Shaffer if he has any suggestions as to which sites he should contact to market the book. Note is on Grove/Atlantic stationery. Purchased from the estate of Harry Shaffer. Text is clean, unmarked, tight. (Shelf location: BS4) All items carefully packed to avoid damage from moisture and rough handling. Tracking included. Bookseller Inventory # 033460

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Shadow-Box

Publisher: Grove Pr

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Collectible: Like New

Dust Jacket Condition: Like New

About this title

Synopsis:

Antonia Logue's first novel is already being acclaimed around the world as one of the year's most auspicious debuts, a work of rich and complex flavor and dazzling imagination that establishes her as an outstanding new writer. It is a sweeping story of love and friendship centered around the mysterious Arthur Cravan -- semiprofessional boxer, surrealist manque, influential art critic, legendary bon vivant, nephew of Oscar Wilde.In 1908 Jack Johnson was crowned the first black heavyweight champion of the world -- to the great chagrin of the American public, scandalized by his fast cars, debauchery, taste for white women, and the fact that he couldn't be beaten. Forced to flee to Europe to escape being jailed on trumped-up charges, he met Cravan, and together they dreamed up a brilliant scam to get Cravan to New York: they staged a fight to pay for his passage. Soon Cravan was shocking the arts patrons of New York society with a futurist manifesto-cum-drunken rant that landed him in jail -- his antics egged on by friends such as Marcel Duchamp and William Carlos Williams. But Cravan's time in New York also gave rise to a passionate love affair with the celebrated modernist poet Mina Loy. Theirs was a great love, interrupted by a great war. They had an idyllic wedding in Mexico, and then Cravan -- fleeing conscription into the army -- sailed into a hurricane and was presumed dead.From this remarkable story, Antonia Logue has fashioned a truly extraordinary novel. Letters between Jack and Mina beginning in 1946 sketch this expansive tale of love, art, and boxing, ranging across the United States and Europe in the era of tremendous social, artistic, and political upheaval before andduring World War II. Told with a powerful voice, warm humor, and a vigorous historical imagination that recalls Penelope, Lively and Rose Tremain, Shadow-Box is a novel that you will not soon forget.

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

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