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The Crack Magazine


Headshot by Rita Bullwinkel

In Rita Bullwinkel’s suitably punchy debut novel, eight of the finest young female fighters in the US gather in Reno with one aim: to be crowned the next big thing in women’s boxing. Each chapter takes the form of a bout, and Bullwinkel describes the action while also giving us background information on each fighter (she also gives us flash-forward insights into the women’s future lives – shades of Muriel Spark’s similarly salty ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’). The narrative device may sound a tad gimmicky, but this is a relatively short novel and it doesn’t outstay its welcome. It also allows the author to focus on what really matters here: pen sketches of modern-day working-class Americans and how they interact with each other. ‘Headshot’ is also pointed, funny, and packing real heat, and it finishes with the kind of outrageous flourish that Nicola Adams herself would have been proud of. RM

Published by Daunt Books