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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.




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